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Posted on Aug 10, 2019 in Articles

GREAT BRITAIN DAZZLE AT THE FEI NATIONS CUP OF IRELAND

GREAT BRITAIN DAZZLE AT THE FEI NATIONS CUP OF IRELAND

 

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Images by Lucy Hall Photography – all rights reserved and images are subject to copyright.

Article by Debra Hargrave.

Great Britain dazzle in the rain with a win at Dublin. Despite the whether the British team of Ben Maher (Concona), Scott Brash (Hello Jefferson), Emily Moffitt (Winning Good) and Holly Smith (Hearts Destiny) claim the Aga Khan CUP in the finest style.

Lying last on the leaderboard going into this final leg of the Europe Division 1 series they left it to the very last minute to win a place at the world Final in Barcelona this October.

With their backs to the wall they put in a gritty performance and pulled off victory without the need of Smith’s help in the second round. Finishing with just one time fault and clear of Italy who finished on 12 faults and Ireland claiming third spot on 16 faults.

It’s not exaggerating to describe Britain’s lack of form this season has been disheartening, and with qualification for Tokyo 2020 still on the agenda for many top nations there is still a great deal to play for.

“We had a task to do and we did it in style” said Team Manager Di Lampard.

“We’ve ridden the storm this season, we’ve had the downs and the difficulties, but it had to change at some time and with a good team and the right spirit I felt it was going to come right this week, and it did!”

Holly Smith
With clears from Brash, Moffitt and Smith, the mistake by Ben at the final element could be discounted to leave the team clearly in command on zero score at the halfway point.

Italy went through on 8 faults, Ireland with 8 faults and Switzerland on 9. But with such a tight grip on the lead Britain were never going to let go, this was the last leg of the seven round division so it was all or nothing.

Maher skilfully guided his  inexperienced 9 year old home with just a single time fault second time out, so when both Brash and Moffitt each produced another foot-perfect run – the game was already up. Not only had they bagged the coveted Aga Khan Cup for their country for an incredible 27th time in the 93 year history, but the 100 point they collected elevated Great Britain up seventh place in the leaderboard from which the top seven of the 10 competing nations qualify for the finale in Spain.

Other teams to qualify are Switzerland, Italy, Ireland, France, Belgium and Sweden. Surprisingly three countries who have not made the cut are The Netherlands, Germany and Austria.

“Over the last three years we’ve been producing young riders and a larger squad of riders, and you can’t rush these things. They need the right horses and they need owners to stick with them and that all takes time” said Di Lampard.

Credit to 21 year old Emily Moffitt, trained by Ben Maher, competing at her first 5* Nations Cup showed great maturity as she steered the hard pulling ‘Winning Good’ to produce a double clear.

“Riding is the easy bit, shouting from the sides is the hard part! Emily did exactly what she was told today so I’m very proud of her, and also proud to be part of this team” said Maher.

Emily Moffitt (2)

“This is not an easy ring to ride in, I found that out the other day when my horse got a bit spooky” said Brash.

“It’s a privilege to ride here in Dublin and compete in this – the very best Nations Cup. It’s all down to the crowd really, they are incredible” said Brash.

Final comment must go to Holly Smith “Everything panned out as we hoped which doesn’t always happen – so when it does you have to enjoy it!”

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