The British Fight Back in the Samsung Super League with FEI
RELEASE: June 28, 2007
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Louise Parkes
Great Britain produced an emphatic victory in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on Friday, June 22, where, for most of the rest, the going proved very tough indeed. Stung by elimination at the previous leg in St. Gallen, Switzerland, the winners came out with all guns blazing this time around and Chef d'Equipe Derek Rickett's side produced a super-polished performance. Particularly pleasing was the double-clear from David McPherson and AK Pilgrim 11, which was matched only by Sweden's Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and the veteran MacKinley. And The Maestro himself, John Whitaker, did not have to jump in the second round with Peppermill. The deal had already been sealed by his younger brother Michael, his niece Ellen and the 46-year-old former South African.
The Belgian team lined up second, just a fence behind in the final analysis, but big scores were the order of the day for the remaining six teams with Switzerland slotting into third ahead of Germany in fourth, Sweden in fifth and the host Netherlands in sixth. The French managed to keep only one other nation at bay—the Americans, who collected a massive 42 faults to finish a very definite last and who have now slipped to the bottom of the 2007 Samsung Super League with FEI table.
Well out in front on a zero score after the first round, the British were in command all the way following clears from Michael Whitaker, McPherson and John Whitaker while Ellen Whitaker collected just a single time penalty with Locarno. The Belgians were looking good in the early stages with just single time faults from both Philippe Le Jeune (Vigo D'Arsouilles) and the impressive newcomer Niels Bruynseels (Item de Quintin), but 20 faults from Dirk Demeersman and Tymoon Caloo Meerchen blotted their copybook, so the five picked up by Jos Lansink and Al Kaheel Turbo R brought their tally to seven.
Sweden and Switzerland shared a score of 13, with Swedish pathfinder Erika Lickhammer producing a very stylish clear from Irco Mac and Royne Zetterman's 13 faults with Isaac the only others to count when Helena Lundback's 17 with Madick were dropped after Bengtsson also left the course intact. The Swiss were also obliged to dispose of one high score—the 16 collected by Daniel Etter and Peu a Peu. But with just a single mistake from Werner Muff and Plot Blue and one time fault for Niklaus Schurtenberger and Cantus, then Pius Schwizer's eight with Nobless M completed their scoreline.
Germany was lying fifth at the half-way point following single errors from both Marcus Ehning and Sandro Boy and Ludger Beerbaum with Goldfever, which had to be added to the eight faults acquired by Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst and Lord Luis when Daniel Deusser's Air Jordan also had two down but added a time penalty. Time was a crucial factor all day—the speed required to make it around Rob Jansen's track throwing some very experienced partnerships into a bit of a spin.
The Dutch were carrying 21 faults. Vincent Voorn's clear with Audi's Alpapillon-Armanie were largely responsible for keeping things under control when both Angelique Hoorn (Blauwendraad's O'Brien) and Ben Schroder (BMC Rubert R) left three on the floor, and Gerco Schroder's Eurocommerce Berlin returned with nine faults on the board.
The American slide was already seriously underway, however. The single errors from opener Richard Spooner riding Cristallo and anchor rider Beezie Madden with Authentic were incapable of compensating for cricket scores from both Margie Engle with Hidden Creek's Quervo Gold and McLain Ward with Sapphire. Ward's round got off to the worst possible start when the mare hit the very first fence and he returned with a total of 17 faults. Yet, that was considerably better than the 25 accumulated by Engle, who had a horror-story of a day that concluded with a personal tally of 46 faults.
The U.S. first-round tally of 25 however did give them a one-point advantage