Germany takes the lead after the second round of the European Championships
Italy remains in sixth place, with hopes for Olympic qualification.
Fifteen teams competed in the first round of the team competition and the second round of individual qualification at the European Championships 2023, held at the SNAI San Siro Hippodrome in Milan. The challenge of organizing such an important event at this venue proved successful.
The teams faced a challenging 1.60m course designed by Italian course designer Uliano Vezzani and his team of experienced field directors.
Poland was the first team to enter the specially made grass arena for the event, accumulating 27.44 penalties in the first round, placing them at the bottom of the provisional rankings.
The complexity of the course was evident, as the 25 individual riders who competed before the teams were unable to complete the course without faults. Even Italy’s rider Francesco Turturiello, riding Made In’t Ruytershof, earned 8 penalties.
Following the initial rounds, the most critical points of the course became apparent: the double cage, oxer number 12 after the riviera, and certainly the final line, featuring a vertical and an oxer over a ditch.
Changes in the provisional team standings
At the end of the competition, Germany moved into the lead with a total of 9.31 penalties. The German team saw Jana Wargers riding Limbridge and Philipp Weishaupt on Zineday complete the 1.60m course flawlessly. They were followed by Gerrit Nieberg on Ben 431 (12) and Marcus Ehning on Stargold (4). By discarding the worst score, the German team completed the second round with a total of 4 penalties, surpassing Sweden.
The Swedish team narrowly slipped into second place, now holding a total score of 9.51. The standout performances were undoubtedly from the world-ranked top rider, Henrik von Eckermann on Iliana, and Jens Fredricson on Markan Cosmopolit, both completing the round without errors. Wilma Hellström on Cicci BJN and Rolf-Göran Bengtsson on Zuccero each received 8 penalties.
Switzerland secured the third position, fighting for Olympic qualification and determined to retain its place on the podium. Steve Guerdat and Dynamix de Beltheme delivered an incredible round without errors, while Martin Fuchs on Leone Jei and Brian Balsiger on Dubai du Bois Piinchet finished with 4 penalties each. Edouard Schmitz and Gamin van’t Naastveldhof’s 8 penalties, being the team’s lowest score, were discarded. Switzerland now sits in third place on the podium with a total score of 9.92.
Regarding the rest of the standings: Ireland and Austria continue to complete the top five, in fourth and fifth place respectively, with 10.00 and 16.77 points.
Italy remains in sixth place with an overall score of 18.42, just behind the following countries: Netherlands (19.29), Spain (21.59), and France (22.47).
Unfortunately, the Italian National Team didn’t shine today. Nevertheless, if the situation remains unchanged, it might secure its Olympic ticket and claim the third golden ticket for Paris 2024, which is up for grabs in Milan. Remember, there are six countries vying for qualification for next year’s Olympics: Austria, Denmark, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland.
As for the Italian riders’ performances, Emanuele Camilli, riding 9-year-old Odense Odeveld, was the only one to finish error-free, once again standing out as the best Italian on the field.
The Dutch team managed to move up from twelfth place yesterday to seventh today, while Spain improved to eighth, moving up from the provisional eleventh place after yesterday’s round. France took the ninth position, and the British team closed this second day of the European Championships, completing the top ten (24.42).
We received feedback from some riders.
Armando Trapote, Spanish rider to jump not only one of the first clear rounds but also one of the only 15 clear rounds out of 84 riders that competed over the very tough 160 course that counts as the second qualifier for the European Championships in Milano; San Siro.
“Today when I walked the course I knew it was going to be very tough, there were many short distances and many wide oxers, but I knew that if I ride good enough my horse can do everything, that is why I was very disappointed with yesterday’s round, I rode very nervous, and I was not calm I was just running to the fences so I was very disappointed about that, that’s why my main focus after today’s round was to maintain preciseness and a good sport for my team. My horse jumped fantastic and I did my best and that’s what I will continue to do”
Ben Maher had a strong comeback after yesterday’s round:
“ Faltic HB felt very relaxed today, already after jumping the first three jumps I had a very good feeling. Today was proper riding, yesterday was different for me because in the previous years I had naturally fast horses, so I did not have to push to be amongst the top placings, but not all horses are like that, but now it comes down to just leaving the jumps up. We have some newer combinations in our team so as a country we have to broaden our team, we are already pre-qualified for Paris so it doesn’t mean we can’t be good this week but there is also a project for the future. The surface feels firmer today than yesterday, today I didn’t feel one jump where I felt that Faltic had the engine stalling on the floor, but I did go 40 horses earlier, but at this point it feels fair and good. “
Marcus Ehning had a light touch on the wall, but we go his impressions on today’s course and on how he felt his horse Stargold:
“ The course was bigger than I expected. We had many fauls yesterday, but so far it is looking good there are already a few clear rounds, the difficulties are everywhere but the last line is creating a lot of faults on the last jump, but the whole setup with 14 numbers shows quite a tough course. My horse was good, I had a very unlucky fault on the wall, I did not expect that but in the end it came down.”
Ioli Mytilineou the greek rider that has already showed her talent over two championships performing with outstanding results jumped a very nice round marked by one fault today.
“ I come to these championships for myself, nobody forces me to be here, so when I come I try to do my best and if I feel in any way that it’s not working I leave, my horses and their welfare always come first. I am very pleased with both yesterday’s and today’s round, I could have avoided both faults, my horse has been jumping incredible, so I am very happy, I just need to concentrate on riding better and hopefully with a nice round tomorrow that will bring me to the final on Sunday.”
Henrik Von Eckermann first to go in the ring for team Sweden jumped a clear round to maintain Sweden on top of the ranking;
“It was a great round the horse jump fantastic, I didn’t ride so bad and the right result came out, the course was super I have to say also yesterday and today there were big jumps out there, but they are not completely demanding on the horse you need to be able to ride accurate, to have all the gears to go forward and backwards. He is asking a lot from the riders and that is how it should be, if you ride good you should have good chances and not only that it is the last holes on the jumps. I am so happy with Iliana, I had a plan with her the whole year and now we got this far and she made a fantastic job so I am really pleased. It was a good start, but I felt the pressure after both Germany and Switzerland went clear, so I felt like I had to get more pressure on them too, and hopefully the drop score stays in our pocket and I hope we don’t need to use it before the last rider”
Emanuele Camilli, best of the Italian riders jumped yet another clear round on his horse Odense Odeveld and is currently in 6th individual place:
“Today’s round was certainly more difficult and more technical than yesterday’s round and I have to say I am extremely happy and proud of my horse that managed to jump this course as an only 9-year-old horse, he confirmed once more to be a genius. My horse is in very good shape, now we have our hopes on our last rider to go in the ring, and after that maximum concentration for tomorrow which is our main priority.”
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