Can the British Make It Three in a Row in Rome in the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ Series
RELEASE: May 28, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Malina Gueorguiev
The British may be lying second-last on the leaderboard as the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ series comes to Rome tomorrow but Chef d'Equipe Derek Ricketts said that he has no fears for his country ahead of the second big clash of the 2009 season.
"Last year we finished last at the opening leg in La Baule and then came to Rome and won in a jump-off against the USA; we have always liked it here, and we know we can do well," he pointed out.
If Great Britain does take the top prize once again, then this will be their 10th Nations Cup victory over the 81-year history of the Italian event and their fourth since 2005. Only the French have disrupted their supremacy at the Piazza di Sienna in recent times when heading the line-up in 2006. The Draw
The draw took place Thursday afternoon and the order-of-go is as follows: 1. Sweden; 2. Ireland; 3. USA; 4. France; 5. Italy; 6. Germany; 7. Belgium; 8. Great Britain; 9. Switzerland; 10. The Netherlands.
Andreas Paulgross, the new President of the Italian Equestrian Federation (FISE) welcomed Khadija Turki, Group Corporate Sales Manager for Meydan while David Holmes thanked FISE and Show Director Antonio Govannoni's organizing team along with the Ground Jury—all "unsung heroes who don't often get the thanks they deserve," the FEI Director of Sport pointed out.
With shared responsibility for Italian team management this year, it is Uberto Lupinetti who is acting as chef d'equipe for the Rome fixture, and he named his side, which will include Natale Chiaudani, Giovani Lucchetti, Giulia Martinengo and Juan Carlos Garcia. Like all nations, the Italians like to do well on their home ground, but you have to go all the way back to 1985 for their last success—a good result Friday would mean a great deal.Cautious
If Ricketts is confident of his team's chances, Irish Chef d'Equipe Robert Splaine is a little more cautious. His side is lying bottom of the league table at this early stage of the eight-leg series, and he knows they have a lot to do. "We take it very seriously, so naturally I'm not happy that we are in 10th place at this time, but only two things can happen to us—we can either improve or we can stay where we are, while the other teams have a choice of three things—they can improve, drop down the leaderboard or stay in their current place! Hopefully tomorrow we can put in a performance that will improve our situation," he said.
Switzerland heads the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ table after the first leg in La Baule, with Sweden in second and Germany and The Netherlands sharing third place. France lies fifth, Belgium is in sixth place and the USA and Italy hold seventh and eighth spots respectively, ahead of the bottom-placed British and Irish.Facts and Statistics
— The Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ celebrates 100 years of nations cup jumping.
— The Italian team won the very first nations cup competition staged at the Piazza di Siena in 1926.
— The Netherlands and Sweden have won only once in Rome - The Netherlands in 2004, and Sweden in 2000.
— The USA has won four times - in 1997, 1989, 1983 and 1959.
— Switzerland has won three times - in 1994, 1987 and 1967.
— The Piazza di Siena is a happy hunting ground for France - The French have won here on 16 occasions.
— A total of 26 countries have competed in the nations cup in Rome.
— The legendary Graziano Mancinelli was a member of the last Italian team to win at the Piazza di Siena in 1985. His horse was Karata and he rode alongside Girogio Nuti (Silvano), Bruno Scolari (Joyau d'Or) and Emilio Puricelli (Impedoumi).
— Emilion Puricelli is now part of the Italian team management.
— It is 24 years since Italy last won on their home ground.
Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ Standings after First Leg at La Baule