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The Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final is hotting up, with only eight of the 18 participating sides qualifying for Saturday night’s spectacular finale, and the French missed out when slotting into eleventh place. However Switzerland, Great Britain and Italy have made the cut after finishing with four faults each, and the last two places went to The Netherlands and Ireland.
The remaining nations - Brazil, Qatar, Spain, Austria, Egypt, Colombia, Mexico, Sweden and Australia - will now join the French in tonight’s Longines Challenge Cup.
Watch live right here, and check out the recap of yesterdays events:
“I’m very happy with the way the horses jumped and the riders rode, but maybe the result today was a bit unexpected”, admitted Belgian Chef d’Equipe Dirk Demeersman. “Last year we came with a team with a lot of experience, but this year we came with a team with not so much. However we have been showing good results in the last few weeks” he pointed out.
Spain’s Santiago Varela designed the course, and it proved to be a real test of skill for the best of the best. “I think I gave them enough to do today” Varela said yesterday. “I wanted to see how they would react to the arena because it has only been built since July and it takes time to be perfect, but the horses jumped very well on it and I think it was a great class!”
Rio 2016 individual gold medallist Nick Skelton got the British off to a great start with a super clear from Big Star and when Michael Whitaker backed that up with a great round from Viking they were well in contention for one of those top-eight places.
It will be an emotional night for Ludger Beerbaum as he says farewell to the team sport on which he has had such influence during his long and illustrious career. But he didn’t want to get caught up in the emotion today. “After 30 years I feel very lucky to do the job the way I’ve done it. I have had a lot of support and I have no regrets. Now I’m looking forward to whatever is left”, he said.
18 teams started in today’s first round of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2016 Final
3 teams shared pole position on a zero score - the defending champions from Belgium along with Germany and USA
This is the fourth Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final and the participating countries are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Qatar, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and USA.
19 qualifiers took place around the globe ahead of this year’s Final.
Course designer is Spain’s Santiago Varela.
20 clears from 72 starters in today’s first-round competition.
The 10 teams that did not make the cut into Saturday night’s finale will compete in tonight’s (Friday 23rd) Longines Challenge Cup.
Text by Louise Parkes & Paul Stretton/FEI
Photography by Richard Juilliart/FEI