Great Britain claim second place in a tight, tense, FEI Junior Nations Cup of Zduchovice

Saturday 27 April 2024

Great Britain claim second place in a tight, tense, FEI Junior Nations Cup of Zduchovice

It went to the wire in the FEI Junior Nations Cup of Zduchovice in the Czech Republic with the result of the jump-off resting on Britain’s final rider, Great Britain taking a close second place.

Britain, fielding three team debutantes in their team of four, stood at the top of the leaderboard of nine teams on a zero score at the halfway stage over a 1.40m course with two fences in hand.

The pressure was on to maintain their form. Pathfinder Henry Squibb, who has Pony European team experience and participated in one Junior team in 2023, riding Amy Squibb and Emily Fenn’s nine-year-old Diatencona PS (Diatendro x Conthargos) kept Britain in the hunt with a clean sheet. And when second rider Alena Hughes with Victoria Hughes’ Clinton 12-year-old Hercules followed suit, Britain looked in a strong position.

Making her team debut, Izzy Doyle tapped out two rails second time out with Deborah Doyle’s 11-year-old Claxon Van De Bosweg putting the team on level pegging on eight faults with the Czech Republic.  A clear or four faults would hand the win to Great Britain; eight faults meant a jump-off situation.

It was down to the round of last-to-go Ruby Barrs. But it didn’t go according to plan as Manzana De Rigo took exception to the water jump second time out and unfortunately, unceremoniously unseated Ruby.  A jump-off was on the cards.

“Horses jumped the open water well in round one, although it was off the corner on a difficult approach. But, most unusually, the course-designer added poles over the water in round two and it took some horses by surprise and caused problems,” explained joint Chef d’Equipe Clare Whitaker. “Unfortunately, Ruby with Manzana was one of them.”

Keeping a cool head, Henry was quick and clear on Diatencona, beating his Czech equivalent by 1.42 seconds. Alena was also clear on Hercules, and although the big-jumping careful gelding lost a little time in the air, they were still produced a fast time to beat their rival counterpart and put Britain on a good footing.

However, the pressure was on as Czech’s third rider Albert Pisarik provided an economical clear on Kingston 43 and Izzy aimed for a fast clear to keep Britain in contention.  But the front rail of the third fence fell and although the host country’s final rider, Viktor Skutecky and G-Star SL returned with a steady four faults, Ruby needed to jump a quick clear to win.

She put her previous unlucky round behind her and gamely set off and looked to be in contention. However, a slight difference of opinion at the penultimate vertical toppled the top pole and although they cleared the final oxer, it dropped Great Britain to second place.

“We had three very new riders at this level and I was very pleased with how they coped, they got stuck in and supported each other,” said Clare.

FEI Junior Nations Cup of Zduchovice, Czech Republic
Friday, 
26 April 2024

1st Czech Republic 0/8/0 - 97.99 seconds

2nd Great Britain 0/8/4 - 98.89 seconds

Henry Squibb & Diatencona PS – 0/0/0 - 31.81 seconds
Alena Hughes & Hercules – 0/0/0 - 32.65 seconds
Izzy Doyle & Claxon Van De Bosweg – 7/8/4 - 37.09 seconds
Ruby Barrs & Manzana De Rigo – 0/E/4 - 34.43 seconds

3rd Belgium - 9

 

Image: Jan Vlcek/ equifo.cz

 
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