Abu Dhabi | United Arab Emirates
Hosted at the state of the art Al Forsan International Sports Resort, the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of UAE gave equestrian lovers from around the world a magnificent showcase of talent and technique.
The event, sponsored by Longines – the luxury watch makers based in Saint-Imier, Switzerland, is the sport’s oldest and most prestigious team challenge. The FEI Nations Cup celebrated this year’s event as its 109th.
This year was the first year that New Zealand team had been invited to participate and in spectacular form the team took the cup. After 2 rounds of intense competition, Ireland and New Zealand were the two teams left to battle it out for the top spot. The battle left the two teams tied with 12 points each. This forced a jump off over 13 fences. The first rider from New Zealand, Samantha McIntosh, completed, once again, a clear round in 40.16. This placed immense pressure on Shane Breen from Ireland. Unfortunately for Ireland, Breen and his horse Laith, could not match the round resulting in New Zealand being crowned as the champions and winners of the cup.
The winning team was made up of Richard Gardener on Calisto, Bruce Goodin on Backatorps Danny V, Daniel Meech on Fine, Samantha McIntosh on Check In and Chef d’Equipe Ulrika Goodin.
As part of New Zealand’s prize the team won €64 000 as well as securing the team a place in the final in Barcelona later this year. Furthermore a bonus of €50,000 was to be shared amongt any riders who completed 2 clear rounds during the Nations Cup. Both David Simpson (Ireland) and Samantha McIntosh (New Zealand) completed 2 clear rounds and will share the money equally. Samantha McIntosh commented at the press conference : “I’m not sure where it came from today, I think we are all in shock. It’s been a long journey for us to get here and we all supported each other as a team. In terms of the jump off, I didn’t really have time to be nervous, I just thought ‘Lets do it’! My horse has also been on great form which probably helped.”
Italy was close but didn’t quite make it to the jump off as they managed to finished the two rounds on 20 points. Team UAE finished tied 4th alongside Saudi Arabia who will both automatically qualify for the Barcelona final. Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, the President of UAEERF, who organized the event commented:
“We are extremely happy with this successful event following all the hard work or our team in cooperation with FEI, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and all the partners. It has been fantastic to see so many members of the public attending the event. We hope that the riders, coaches and officials have enjoyed attending this event in Abu Dhabi and we look forward to welcoming them again in the future.”
Full results from the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup ™ of UAE and The President of the UAE showjumping Cup presented by Longines are available at www.longinestiming.com