It's Viva L'Espana in Barcelona in the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ Promotional League Final
RELEASE: September 24, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Malina Gueorguiev
The Spanish team secured a convincing victory at the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ Final on Sunday, September 20, in Barcelona where Canada finished second. The home side registered only four faults over the two rounds while the Canadians picked up 16 in total, and both are now destined to join the elite group of nations in 2010.
"I'm very happy with the result" said Spanish Chef d'Equipe Marco Fuste afterwards. "It's been difficult to make this happen, but I want to thank my riders and everyone who helped us to succeed. Now we are really looking forward to next season!" he added.
Poland finished third following impressive performances from both Krzysztof Lukwickzak with his grey mare, My Lady, and the last-line partnership of Aleksandra Lusina and Castello. The Polish side completed with 41 faults on the scoreboard while Norway and Finland each racked up 44 and were only separated by the combined times of their best three team members in each round—the Norwegians therefore filling fourth place with the Finns in fifth. Hungary lined up sixth, hampered by the elimination of second-line rider Zsofia Sirokai who was unseated in round two by her big-jumping chestnut mare Sissi. Driving Seat
The Spanish were already in the driving seat with a zero score at the halfway stage. Only Rutherford Latham and the experienced Guarana Champeix faulted as Sergio Alvarez Moya and Wisconsin, Pilar Cordon with the classy dark bay stallion Herald and Ricardo Jurada with Julia des Brumes left the 12-fence track intact to give them the advantage. The Canadians were already lying second, carrying just eight faults after single errors from both Amy Miller (Costa Rica Z) and Jenna Thompson (Zeke), and a clear from Amy's brother, Jonathon Millar (Contino), which allowed Keean White's 16 faults with Celena Z to be discarded.
The Polish team carried 17 faults into round two while Finland and Norway were already tied with 24 faults each and Hungary was close behind with 26. Sirokai's elimination, however, laid to rest to any chances of improvement for the Hungarian side, despite a superb clear from Mariann Hugyecz and the her big bay gelding Cash, they had to count the 16 faults picked up by Balazs Hovarth and Eternally.
Sylve Soderstrand's Norwegian team had a very disappointing day. Favorites to take one of the two qualifying spots for next year's top-league series, they struggled to show anything like their usual form, the exception however being Stein Endresen who produced a superb double-clear from his gelding, Le Beau. The Finnish effort was more consistent, but they would not overtake the Poles.The Real Battle
The real battle was fought between the Canadians and Spanish. Keean White's second-round clear boosted Canada's position after single mistakes from both members of the Miller family and a discard score of 12 from science student Jenna Thompson who trains with Mario Deslauriers. But the host country had the bit between their teeth, and they weren't about to let go. Moya lowered the second element of the double at fence six on an otherwise foot-perfect second run, and when Cordon and Latham stayed clear it was not necessary for Jurado to return to the ring—their four-fault result could not be improved upon.
Cordon's fabulous stallion was a real eye-catcher. A Holsteiner by Heraldik, this blood horse, formally ridden by Germany's Markus Beerbaum, is likely to make a real impression on the 2010 top-level series. "I have him for one and a half years now, and he is fabulous!" Cordon said. The Millar siblings were in a happy mood, too. Their world-famous father, Ian Millar, who is best known in the sport as "Captain Canada," kept in touch with them all day by text messaging. "We run the business at home together and go to horse shows together all the time—it's a real family thing," Amy pointed out. So what did he have to say when he he