Netherlands snatch Challenge Cup from Australia at Jumping Nations Cup

Barcelona, Oct 1 (EFE).- The Netherlands won late on Saturday night the Challenge Cup jumping competition organized by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) at the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona, after beating Australia in a jump-off.

In humid conditions, Dutch team leader Jos Lansink chose William Greeve and his horse ‘Highway TN’ to improve on the result of Australia’s Christopher Burton and ‘Chedington Hazy Toulana’ who opened the final round with a score of four, after knocking a fence down.

Greeve explained to the press that Burton “set the pressure very high with one miss,” and although he knew he had to ride a perfect round, ambition could play against them and result in a defeat.

“If you have the opportunity to ride a horse like mine, you have to be able to allow him to deliver his best, I’m very happy to clinch the win for my country,” Maikel van der Vleuten said.

The Dutchman praised the Australian team and, although he acknowledged that it was “sad” to be left out of Sunday’s final, their goal was to correct the mistakes of the first round and bring home zero points for the team.

Mexico finished third after dominating the first part of the competition with two clear rounds, but a double penalty from Nicolás Pizarro and ‘Pia Contra’ in the final stretch of the course -including at a triple jump which proved troublesome for all riders- prevented them from taking victory.

His teammate, Mexican Fernando Martínez Sommer explained to EFE that they were unlucky during the week, as they missed Sunday’s final by just five seconds, but added that the team is “solid” and they hope to regain form for the 2023 Pan American Championship in Chile.

“In addition to the importance of the tournament itself, there is a spot for the Paris 2024 Olympics at stake. There are three spots and we hope to win one of them,” he said after his ride.

Hosts Spain finished fifth after an inconsistent performance with a final score of sixteen and good rides by Mariano Martínez Bastida and ‘Belano’, and Alberto Márquez Galobardes and ‘Aldo du Manoir’.

The 111th International Jumping Competition in Barcelona is hosting for the tenth consecutive year the final of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup, in which the United Kingdom are starting as favorites ahead of Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, United States, Ireland and France.

During the City of Barcelona Cup on Friday -won by Frenchman Julien Epaillard- a tribute was held for Marco Fusté, FEI Jumping Director and Jumping Director of the Spanish Equestrian Federation for 15 years, who died at the beginning of 2023 in Lausanne (Switzerland) at the age of 60 from a heart attack.

Isabel Gargallo, Marco Fusté’s widow, his daughter Ainhoa, and his father Francisco Fusté, received the Joaquín Calvo Memorial Trophy during an emotional presentation at the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona. EFE


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