A brilliant double-clear from Anthony Condon and Aristio helped Ireland to a share of second place in today’s Furusiyya FEI  Nations Cup at Hickstead, on a day when Germany triumphed but the home side tumbled to sixth and as a result missed out on a place in this year’s Final in Barcelona, writes Mike Dunne.

The Germans were so commanding that they didn’t need their fourth rider in either round, so Ludger Beerbaum and Chiara were able to watch their colleagues do all the work. The win ensured the victors a place in the Final in September.

Ireland, who were safely qualified for Barcelona since last week’s Dublin event, opened today with Bertram Allen who had the unenviable task of being first to test today’s course, coming home with four faults. Billy Twomey went clear with Diaghilev and Condon followed with another faultless round. Anchorman Shane Breen retired from the first round with Golden Hawk when he was unable to improve Ireland’s four-fault first round tally.

Allen and Molly posted four faults second time out as did Twomey, but Condon went clear again – his third nations cup double-clear this year with Aristio  – and then Breen finished Ireland’s league campaign with a faultless round to leave Robert Splaine’s team on an eight fault total.

It was good enough for a share of second place with Belgium who needed a big result today to qualify for Barcelona. Unluckily for the Belgians it wasn’t good enough to make the cut. They way things worked out they would have needed to win to qualify, and despite double-clears from both Niels Bruynseels (Cas de Liberte) and Karel Cox (Cor van de Wateringhoeve), they couldn’t match the brilliant Germans.

However the real story was Great Britain missing the cut for Barcelona when, after a good first round, they fell away second time out and ended up in sixth on the day, which saw them sink to eighth on the league table and outside the qualifying places for Barcelona.

That was good news for Italy, who kept up their winning Dublin form in round one but had a terrible second round, yet have booked their ticket for the Final thanks in part to the low British score today, but mainly because of their great win in Dublin last week.

Netherlands finished last today but it wasn’t a qualifying round for the Dutch who were on top of the league before today and remain there after this closing result. Ireland were second in the league before today and keep that position in the final standings. Indeed had last week’s jump-off in Dublin gone Ireland’s way, Robert Splaine’s team would have finished on top of the league table.

As for France, who weren’t in action today, they can breathe a sigh of relief as their place in Barcelona is now also assured.

Nations Cup Hickstead 1st Germany 4; =2nd Ireland 8; =2nd Belgium 8; =4th USA 12; =4th Switzerland 12; 6th Great Britain 20; = 7th Italy 28; = 7th Netherlands 28.

Final Standings Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Europe Division 1
(top seven from this division qualify for the Final in Barcelona in September)

1. NED       335.00
2. IRL         323.33
3. GER        313.33
4. SUI         310.00
5. SWE       305.00
6. FRA       265.00
7. ITA        260.00
8. GBR       255.00
9. BEL        246.67
10. CZH     180.00

Note: The above table was compiled by We Live Horse. The FEI’s final standings table shows a slightly different points total for Italy of 259.17. We Live Horse believes that the table above is correct and has communicated the anomaly to the FEI. Either way, the placings are not affected.

Following communication between the FEI and We Live Horse on Saturday July 30th, the FEI has concurred with the figure of 260.00 points for Italy and will process the adjustment.