FEI Nations Cup 2013: Analysing Current Standings After Hickstead Event
The All England Jumping Course played host to the seventh round of the newly designed FEI Nations Cup on August 2.
Providing the world's best show jumpers with the chance to provide glory for their country, this was a vital meet in the quest for overall victory. As the penultimate event before September's Barcelona final, which teams jumped in style to produce a defining performance? Could the British reignite their hopes with a strong display in front of the home crowd?
Here's a look at Europe's Division 1 standings after the recent event:
Ominous signs are approaching in the Nations Cup. After a slow start to the tournament, Germany's recent form should have the other countries rather worried. Following up a terrific win in Sweden's Falsterbo event during round six, the team of Ludger Beerbaum, Marcus Ehning, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Hans-Dieter Dreher cruised to its third overall win of the season.
The win pushes Germany up from sixth to fourth in the standings. Just four faults from the entire team suggests the three teams above should look over their shoulders as we head into Dublin's final meet. The Netherlands were the only top-three team competing in Britain and struggled under the pressure of 20 faults.
Dutch fans will be disappointed to see the team finish seventh from a total of eight, especially as no significant ground has been made up on France or Sweden. Instead of pushing for a top finish, the Netherlands now have to contend with a German side that is rapidly gaining confidence.
British followers were also forced to swallow a performance of real disappointment. The home squad was unable to prolong the success of 2012's London Olympic Games with a joint-fifth finish. A team of Ben Maher, William Funnell, Peter Charles and Scott Brash scored 17 faults and lingered alongside Ukraine in the middle of the pack.
Irishman Shane Breen, who is based in Hickstead, enjoyed the Rider of the Day award. He went on to a Templant Events Queen Elizabeth II Cup victory on August 3, as reported by the Irish Independent, but his team failed to enter the top three the day before. Even so, strong performances from the Irish saw them continue to outrun the British team by nine points. Home advantage in the final event could prove vital.
Can the Germans continue their assault up the rankings for a memorable finish? The answer will be revealed at the Dublin Horse Show on August 9.
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