New Zealand dominated the Nations Cup at Military Boekelo-Enschede with Tim Price taking the individual crown and the team winning the final leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing series.
Price and Cekatinka finished on 43.7 penalty points, spear-heading the team result that saw them finish comfortably ahead of runners-up Germany whilst Australia claimed the final spot on the podium.
Conditions had been tough at the Dutch event with a lot of rain, but a new all-weather surface at Boekelo for both the dressage and show jumping paid dividends.
Price was sitting in fifth place at the end of the dressage, and took the lead after the cross country where he added just four time faults to his 43.7 penalty point tally. Price had taken a long option on the cross country and had hoped it wouldn’t come back to haunt him in the final phase. But he was clean in the final phase to finish 1.8 penalty points ahead of second placed Tim Lips aboard Bayro, who also claimed the Dutch National Championship, with Alexis Goury of France and Trompe l’Oeil d’Emery third on 46.1.
“Where I took the option was riding worse and worse as the day progressed and I was right at the end, so I figured if I could get up on the clock enough I would go long,” he said. “I did and just managed to stay in front.”
He had plenty of praise for Cekatinka, who is usually ridden by his wife Jonelle. “She is a lovely mare – very nuggety, athletic and simple in the way she jumps and goes. The team always thought we had a good chance so just got on with it and put a good team performance down.”
“It was a fantastic effort by the team to win the final round of the Nations Cup by a convincing margin,” said team member Mark Todd. “All the horses went really well, and it was very exciting for Tim with the lovely mare Cekatinka to win the overall competition.”
Equestrian Sports New Zealand high performance eventing manager, and chef d’equipe for Boekelo, Graeme Thom was very pleased with their efforts. “It was a great competition with an incredible effort from our team all the way through, from riders, owners, grooms and our wonderful support team,” he said. “All of our riders banded together and worked extremely well as unit which definitely contributed to the performance.”
Second placed Lips, for whom it was his third national title, commented: “I was here in Boekelo to be well in shape. I’ve placed the whole game second. I am very satisfied. I sat so close. Bayro has really given this game. Being second in Boekelo is really fantastic. I do not think there was a Dutchman who has been second here. “
Much of the talk prior to the event had been the battle between Great Britain and Germany who were both in contention to take the Nations Cup series title.
The FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing series was contested over nine events across Europe plus The Plains (USA). Germany contested seven out of nine legs scoring a remarkable five wins. Britain, twice winners of the series travelled out to the US leg at The Plains as well as all eight European legs and had a 10-point advantage over Germany going into the final leg.
However, Boekelo proved a disappointing weekend with the horses and riders facing tough weather conditions: Laura Collett was eliminated for a cross country fall and both Tom McEwen and Matt Heath had to withdraw before the show jumping. This meant Germany, who were second at Boekelo, claimed the series title for the fourth time since it began in 2012, finishing 80 points ahead of Great Britain, with France finishing in third overall.