There was everything to fight for heading into the final phase of the last event of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ at Boekelo.
The Germans had ended the cross-country phase strongly with a team score of 83.4 with the British lying second on 91.40. In terms of the overall series though, France were leading the British with only ten points separating the two nations and GB looking poised to overtake the French and finish the series as winners. The jumping proved to be a very influential phase with tough course building meaning clear rounds were thin on the ground. Aside from the tricky track, allowed time was tight, leaving plenty of riders with time faults. The pressure was on for GB’s riders in particular; a good performance in the final round could clinch them the series win with the French in uncharacteristically bad form in Boekelo, costing them the series title after a fantastic season otherwise.
For Great Britain, Pippa Funnel had two poles down but Alexander Bragg jumped clear on Shannondale Percy. So too did Sam Watson for Ireland and Tim Lips on Eclips for The Netherlands. Coincidentally, Lips was also leading the Individual standings on Bayro so the pressure was on to jump another clear if he wanted to take home top honours. Ben Leuwer put in a good performance for Germany after having gone clear in the XC the day before adding to the Germans’ stellar performance at Boekelo, but had two unlucky poles. Dirk Schrade had four penalties also for the Germans. Sweden were hanging on tight to the prospect of a bronze medal finish in the series. Christoffer Orsberg finished off on nine faults with Malin Josefsson and Allan V putting in a fabulous clear to keep Sweden clinging to third. Therese Viklund, however, had two poles and with the Germans on top form today, Sweden were just edged out of the medals.
Krajewski was not to be outclassed
Laura Collett was last to go for Great Britain aboard her nine-year-old Holsteiner London 52, who was making his debut at the three star level.
She jumped a beautiful clear guaranteeing an individual podium finish as well as a team medal, with GB finishing on 99.9. German rider Julia Krajewski and the fabulous Samurai du Thot were not to be outclassed though with a very fast clear, leaving Germany on 94 and ensuring the team victory.
Only Tim Lips was left to go and there was plenty at stake; a clear would make him the first Dutch rider to win at Boekelo. Unfortunately for Lips he had two fences down late in the course, dropping him down from first to third.
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Words by Sophie Baker
Images by Libby Law