Thrilling Showdown as Netherlands Triumphs Over Australia in Challenge Cup
The Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™️ Final 2023 at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain, delivered a nail-biting Challenge Cup competition that kept spectators on the edge of their seats. Jos Lansink’s formidable Dutch team had to pull out all the stops to secure victory over the spirited Australian squad.
The showdown came down to a jump-off against the clock, with both teams carrying four faults each. It was Willem Greve, riding Highway TN, who sealed the win for the Netherlands with a blistering clear round in the jump-off.
In the initial round, Dutch rider Jur Vrieling and Long John Silver 3 NOP set the tone with an impeccable performance. However, Kim Emmen and Inflame Go had an unfortunate rail down on the penultimate oxer. Greve’s stallion also encountered a slight hiccup with a foot in the water, putting immense pressure on Maikel van der Vleuten’s anchor ride with Beauville Z NOP.
Australia, despite fielding only three team members, kept the pressure on. Their openers, Chris Burton and Chedington Hazy Toulana, had their sole mistake at fence four. A flawless clear round from Hilary Scott and Oak’s Milky Way, followed by another from Jamie Kermond with Yandoo Oaks Constellation, kept the Australian team in the competition.
The fate of the match now rested on van der Vleuten and Beauville Z. A perfect round was essential to keep the Dutch in the game. Van der Vleuten delivered under immense pressure, ensuring a jump-off would be needed to decide the victor.
In the jump-off, Chris Burton, a former world-class Eventing rider, set a strong target time of 42.82 seconds despite a minor mistake. However, Greve and Highway TN executed a brilliant round, shaving more than a second off Burton’s time with 41.43 seconds to secure the victory.
Dutch Chef d’Equipe, Jos Lansink, expressed his happiness with the Challenge Cup win, highlighting the determination of his team. Vrieling praised his extraordinary horse, Long John, for its amazing performance, while Kim Emmen expressed her surprise at the lone fault she incurred.
Greve, delighted with Highway TN’s performance, shared the horse’s remarkable journey from an injury to a big win.
The Australians, despite finishing in second place, had much to celebrate. They put up a commendable fight against a team of equestrian giants, showcasing their determination and skill.
Now, all eyes are on tonight’s closing competition, where the top eight nations from the first round will compete for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™️ 2023 title. The action promises to be intense, so stay tuned for more thrilling and eclectic emotions from Barcelona.
Foto: Jur Vrieling riding Long John Silver 3 N.O.P., Maikel van der Vleuten riding Beauville Z N.O.P., Willem Greve riding Highway TN and Kim Emmen riding Inflame Go – Copyright ©FEI/Leanjo de Koster
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