SWISS GET THE BEST OF DRAW AT ROTTERDAM
Rotterdam (Ned), 18 June 2009
Sweden is drawn first of the 10 teams, and Switzerland will be last into the ring for the fourth leg of the 2009 Meydan FEI Nations CupTM series in Rotterdam, The Netherlands tomorrow (Friday) afternoon.
The draw took place at the Kralingse Bos showground today (thursday) and the order of go is as follows - 1, Sweden; 2, France; 3, Italy; 4, Belgium; 5, Great Britain; 6, Germany; 7, USA; 8, Ireland; 9, The Netherlands; 10, Switzerland.
CLOSE AT THE TOP
FEI Director of Sport, David Holmes, commented that the situation is really close at the top of the league table with just a single point separating the leading Americans from the Swiss in second place, and US Chef d'Equipe, George Morris, admitted that the was feeling "fairly confident" going into tomorrow's competition following the double of wins recorded by his riders over the past few weeks.
Swiss team manager Rolf Grass however is also in upbeat mood. His side won the opening leg at La Baule last month and then finished joint-third with Great Britain in Rome and third again on their home turf at St Gallen two weeks ago. "We don't feel under too much pressure, and we like it here in Rotterdam so we are looking forward to the competition" he said.
Italian Chef d'Equipe, Emilio Puricelli, was less effusive. "We do not have our strongest team here" he commented, but he added "we still intend to stay positive". The Italians and Irish are languishing at the bottom of the league table as the series moves into the half-way stage, and Irish team manager Robert Splaine pointed out that, despite having a greater range of horses and riders to choose from, it has proven to be a difficult season for his side. "The standard at this level of the sport is incredible - the teams are so strong - but we will try to do our best and I'm hoping we can come up with a good result" he said.
Belgian Chef d'Equipe, Lucien Somers, is hoping for a "top three finishing place" and Germany's Otto Becker declared himself happy with his sixth-to-go starting position. Armed with the World No 1 and No. 2 riders in Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Marcus Ehning he was feeling understandably comfortable, although, as he knows very well, nothing is ever certain in the sport of show jumping - one of the characteristics that guarantees excitement every time.
French team manager Laurent Elias said his riders are determined to produce a good performance tomorrow - "we want to do our best, particularly after the disaster last time" he pointed out, recalling the French failure to make it into the eight-team second round at the Swiss venue.
Great Britain's Derek Ricketts believes that the age and experience of his team members will pay dividends. "They are well used to competing at this level and Rotterdam is a selection trial for the European Championships" he explained.
Dutch team manager, Rob Ehrens, meanwhile expressed his approval of the increased prizemoney this season, adding "it is important to The Netherlands to stay in the top league of nations cup jumping because it gives our riders the opportunity to compete right across Europe against the very best".
The very best will line out tomorrow at 14.30 local time, and you can watch the drama unfold, live on FEITV.
LIVE ON FEITV
Both rounds of the Meydan FEI Nations CupTM will be shown live on FEITV (14:30-17:30 CEST) commentated by horsesport specialist Philip Ghazala.
MEYDAN FEI NATIONS CUPTM - STANDINGS AFTER THIRD LEG AT ST GALLEN:
1. USA - 22.0
2. Switzerland - 21.0
3. Germany - 16.5
4. The Netherlands - 11.5
5. France - 11.0
6. Great Britain - 9.0
7. Belgium - 8.5
8. Sweden - 7.0
9. Italy - 4.0
10. Ireland - 3.5
MEYDAN FEI NATIONS CUPTM
A Meydan FEI Nations CupTM event is organised as a five-star Nations Cup, i.e. a competition in which official teams representing nations compare their merit. At each event the teams gain points according to their placing. At the end of the season the team with the highest points wins the Meydan FEI Nations CupTM and the two teams with the lowest points are relegated to the FEI Nations Cup series (Promotional League). The two best placed teams of that series following the Promotional League Final join the Meydan FEI Nations CupTM for the following year.
The World's Best Ten Teams: Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Ireland, USA, Switzerland, Sweden, and Italy
The World's Best Eight Venues
La Baule (FRA); Friday 15 May; http://www.labaule-cheval.com/2009/pages/accueil.html
Rome (ITA); Friday 29 May; http://www.piazzadisiena.com/
St. Gallen (SUI); Friday 5 June; http://www.csio.ch/
Rotterdam (NED); Friday 19 June; http://www.chio.nl/
Aachen (GER); Thursday 2 July; http://www.chioaachen.de/
Falsterbo (SWE); Friday 17 July; http://falsterbohorseshow.se/se/valkommen/hem/
Hickstead (GBR); Friday 24 July; http://www.hickstead.co.uk/
Dublin (IRL); Friday 7 August; http://www.dublinhorseshow.com/
The complete rules, latest news, results, standings and photos are on www.meydanfeinationscup.org
About the FEI: To learn more about the FEI, www.fei.org
About Meydan: To learn more about Meydan, the title sponsor of the Meydan FEI Nations Cup, www.meydan.ae