Join us for the conclusion of the 2012 FEI Nations Cup series in Dublin on Friday the 17th of August at 15:50 CEST at http://feitv.org
With the roars of the crowd at Greenwich Park still ringing in their ears, five medallists from the London 2012 Olympic Games will be in action as the last leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ 2012 gets underway at the Royal Dublin Society showgrounds in Dublin (IRL) next Friday afternoon. And it promises to be a real battle, because just 3.5 points separate the bottom six teams as the premier eight-leg, eight-nation contest draws to a close.
The defending series champions from Germany hold a strong 10-point lead over France at the head of affairs, but Great Britain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ireland and Belgium are all bunched closely together, and none of them want to finish up at the bottom of the pile.
The Swiss side boasts the new Olympic individual jumping champion, Steve Guerdat, while Olympic team gold medallist, Nick Skelton, is included in the British selection. Team silver medallists, Jur Vrieling and Marc Houtzager, will be lining out for The Netherlands and the Irish crowd will be celebrating the return of Cian O’Connor who clinched individual Olympic bronze.
It is eight years since the Irish last won their cherished Aga Khan Trophy which is presented to the winning team in the FEI Nations Cup™ at Dublin. The host nation finished second in both 2010 and 2011, and it went to a two-way jump-off against the British to decide the result 12 months ago. Nick Skelton’s clear with Carlo clinched it for the visitors that day, and the 54 year old rider will be guaranteed a tumultuous reception when he arrives into the ring again this week because the Irish know a horseman when they see one. The old cross-channel rivalry will be put aside, for a few moments at least, as the crowd show their appreciation for what this exceptional competitor achieved in London last week, and throughout his spectacular career.
Skelton is joined on the British squad by Tina Fletcher, William Funnell, Robert Smith and John Whitaker.
Steve Guerdat’s fabulous individual gold medal winning performance will surely boost Swiss confidence. This country rejoined the top-level series in 2012 following a period in the Promotional League, and there is a real determination to reinforce their status amongst the leading jumping nations in the world. Guerdat’s Olympic ride, Nino des Buissonnets, is taking a break, so the 30 year old rider brings Jalisca Solier amongst his string, and is joined by Pius Schwizer, Jannika Sprunger, Nadja Steiner and Arthur da Silva in the Swiss squad.