France and Netherlands tied for the lead in standings after Furusiyya Nations Cup in Hickstead…

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eam USA clinched a quality victory in the seventh leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping 2014 Europe Division 1 series at Hickstead in Great Britain today. Already qualified for the Furusiyya 2014 Final through participation in the North America, Central America and Caribbean League, the Americans have been campaigning the European circuit in recent weeks in preparation for the forthcoming Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy (FRA). And they showed once again that they are a serious force to be reckoned with as they cruised into the lead in the early stages, and held on with conviction to claim the coveted Edward Prince of Wales Cup.

There were eight teams in the line-up and a lot riding on today’s result as five nations were battling for the last remaining qualifying points. With just one further leg left to run, at Dublin (IRL) next Friday, it is right down to the wire as only seven of the 10 countries competing in Europe Division 1 will make the cut. The Irish and Belgians challenged strongly at the halfway stage, but it was the Dutch and Germans who shared runner-up spot at the end of the day when finishing just a fence off the winning team total on a final tally of eight faults.

And it was a disappointing day for the British hosts who struggled to finish joint-sixth with France while Sweden lined up last on a big score of 38 faults. As the action gets underway in Dublin next week, the Irish will be under severe pressure along with the British and Ukrainians, because these three countries now fill the final three spots on the Europe Division 1 leaderboard.

Standings after Round 7 of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping Europe Division 1 League 2014 at Hickstead (GBR):

1. France – 345
2. Netherlands – 345
3. Belgium – 295
4. Spain – 282.5
5. Switzerland – 280
6. Germany – 255
7. Sweden – 220
8. Ireland – 205
9. Great Britain – 187.5
10. Ukraine – 170