Equestre Internationale News
Samsung Super League News : It's Tough At The Top .....
And At The Bottom!
week the Samsung Super League will resume at Hickstead and, if
the second half of the eight-leg series is anything like as exciting
as the first four competitions, there is much to look forward
to over the coming months.
are still so many unanswered questions.
the French, who have held the lead from the very start, continue
to maintain their advantage? They began so convincingly with wins
in La Baule and Rome but have been losing their grip over the
past few weeks. Can the Irish, who are lying second, just a half
point behind, make it a successive hat-trick of wins by taking
the British title? Their recent record at Hickstead is impressive
- winners in 2000 and 2001 and runners-up by a margin of just
1.24 seconds to Germany last summer - and they look like real
contenders for pole position in the second half of the series.
the mighty Germans, who were expected to make more of an impression,
suddenly produce a burst of energy and improve from their current
third placing? And what about the British in fourth spot? Very
little has gone their way in recent times but they were thoroughly
consistent and doggedly determined in the first three legs of
the Super League before finishing last in Aachen.
Belgians were desperately unlucky to be denied victory in Aachen,
but, after a poor start, their second placing at this toughest
of venues may have signalled a return to the kind of form normally
expected of them. Carrying just 13 points, with the leaders currently
on a total of 31 however, they need to ensure that they do not
drop below their present standing of fifth position because the
final three are seriously struggling.
has been great consternation in Sweden as the country which earned
team silver at the World Equestrian Games in Jerez last September
has floundered miserably over the first four legs of the series.
They were convincing winners of the normal Nations Cup on their
home ground in Falsterbo last Friday when they fielded three of
the four World Championship team members but, at Super League
level, Swedish results have been disappointing to say the least,
and they are lying sixth with just 7.5 marks to their credit and
only 0.5 points ahead of the Italians in seventh spot.
has a good record in Nations Cup competitions but the Italians
finished bottom of the order at the two opening legs of the Samsung
Super League and they are only 0.5 points ahead of the Dutch who
are, surprisingly, at the bottom of the table at this halfway
how can we explain this state of affairs? There is one thing for
sure the French and the Irish have given 100% commitment
to the Samsung Super League, sending out their best possible team
on each occasion and this has paid dividends.
the League has progressed it has become very clear that this is
Nations Cup jumping at a consistently higher level than ever seen
before. There is now a marked difference between normal Nations
Cup competition and the Super League, with greater emphasis on
accuracy and technicality. Leading course designer, Olaf Petersen,
said at Aachen "the FEI made the right decision in separating
the eight top teams from the rest. The Samsung Super League is
a top-class series and is great for the sport. The tracks are
big, difficult, technical and truly testing so the competitions
are really exciting" he added.
is no place for inexperienced horses or riders. There is too much
at stake and, for Holland, Italy and Sweden in particular, the
next round of the series may be the most important yet.
the Swiss are just waiting in the wings. They went out with all
guns blazing into the normal Nations Cup series and currently
lead the rankings by a comfortable margin of 7 points, although
the Spanish are advancing ominously after Falsterbo where the
USA also improved their position to third.
Swiss have made no secret of the fact that they intend to be Super
League contenders in 2004 but they must be at the head of the
Nations Cup league table right at the end of the 2003 series if
they are to gain that much-desired promotion.
line-up for Hickstead on Friday 25 July indicates the seriousness
with which each of the Super League nations are taking the situation.
The French are taking no chances, sending out seasoned campaigners
Reynald Angot, Edouard Couperie, Michel Hecart, Christian Hermon
and Michel Robert. The Irish have had to make a late change to
their line-up. Trevor Coyle was destined to return to Hickstead
for the first time in many years with Beverley Hills Studs
Fleur but, in a twist of fate which sees the British on the winning
side this time around, Michael Whitaker is now to take over the
mare leaving Coyle sidelined while a new face, Clem McMahon, is
likely to take his place. McMahon may be relatively unknown internationally
but he has plenty of experience and has been campaigning the Nations
Cup circuit with great success in recent months. If he is selected
he will be joined by Kevin Babington, Cian O'Connor, Billy Twomey
and Peter Charles.
German selection includes Helena Weinberg, Toni Hassmann, Soren
Von Ronne, Mylene Diederichsmeier and Pia-Luise Aufrecht and,
as defending champions, they will mean business. Germany has claimed
the Prince of Wales Cup on seven occasions in its 66-year
history but the British have been victorious on 33 occasions and
there is nothing they would like more than another win on their
home ground. Robert Smith has been enjoying a good run of form
while Nick Skelton has made a remarkable return after his very
serious neck injury, and with the ever-reliable Michael Whitaker
joined by Scott Smith and Richard Davenport to make up the British
quota the home side is definitely a force to be reckoned with.
Belgians are looking strong with a line-up including Stanny Van
Paesschen, Jos Lansink, Ludo Philippaerts, Jean-Claude Vangeenberghe
and Dirk Demeersman and if they can follow up their excellent
performance in Aachen with another good result here their position
will be significantly strengthened. Maria Sundberg is the only
member of the Falsterbo winning squad to line out for Sweden but
Jerez silver medallest Peter Eriksson has been called into action
along with Helena Persson, Maria Gretzer and Angelie Von Essen
and they will be under no illusions about their task. They must
make a better impact on the series if they want to rise above
the scramble at the bottom of the league table.
Arioldi, Vincenzo Chimirri, Enrico Maria Frana, Cristian Pitzianti
and Luca Carini make up the Italian selection and they, too, will
be feeling the heat along with Hollands Jan Tops, Gerco
and Wim Schroder, Gert Jan Bruggink and Jeroen Dubbeldam. Sweden,
Holland and Italy have all been erratic throughout the Super League
but if they can settle to their work in the second half of the
series then there might not be such a sharp contrast between the
top and bottom of the leaderboard as there is at present.
it is still all for play for as the Samsung Super League resumes
in Hickstead next week. The French have the Irish breathing down
their necks. They know there is no room for error and that they
can be toppled from the lead very easily indeed. The Germans are
likely to put on a strong show of force but Nations Cup jumping
is about national pride and the British will be giving it everything
theyve got on their home ground. Hickstead provides Belgium
with the chance to get right back in the race and for Sweden,
Italy and Holland there is an opportunity to escape from the extremely
tight situation at the bottom of the table.
may be tough at the top, but it's pretty tough at the bottom as
.Hickstead here we come!
up to date with the latest news from Hickstead at website www.hickstead.co.uk.
SUPER LEAGUE LEADERBOARD
France - 31 points
2. Ireland - 30.5 points
3. Germany - 18.5 points
4. Great Britain- 16 points
5. Belgium - 13 points
6. Sweden - 7.5 points
7. Italy - 7 points
8. Holland - 6.5 points
SUPER LEAGUE NATIONAL PRIDE, INTERNATIONAL PASSION!
can access all the latest Samsung Super League news and information
on website www.samsungsuperleague.com and dont forget that
Biographies on all Riders competing in the series are available
to know more? You can check the full rules for the Samsung Super
League Series on the FEI website, section reference rules
Samsung Super League consists of the eight most prestigious horse
shows at which the worlds eight best national teams compare
their merit. The Super League is connected to the Samsung Nations
Cup Series through a promotion/relegation system at the end of
Electronics, one of the worlds largest electronics companies,
is committed to supporting international sporting events thereby
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