manuele Gaudiano and Cocoshynsky will be the first combination for Italy
The Italian team will be pathfinders over Uliano Vezzani’s course when the seventh leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ series gets underway tomorrow afternoon at Piazza di Siena in Rome. The draw took place this afternoon in the dramatic surroundings of The Globe Theatre, a reproduction of Shakespeare’s Globe in London which lies close to the main arena at the Italian venue. And it was the home side that got the least favourite starting spot, while the team from The Ukraine, making their debut in the Europe Division 1 top league, will have the coveted last-to-go position. There will be four Europe Division 1 nations chasing qualifying points towards the Furusiyya Final which will take place at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain in September – France, Great Britain, Ukraine and Spain. The order-of-go for tomorrow’s competition, which begins at 15.15h local time, is as follows: Italy, Sweden, Great Britain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain, Ukraine.
FISE President, Antonella Dallari, welcomed all the teams to Piazza di Siena and said “we are very happy to see you all in Rome. This is my first time to be here as President of the Italian Federation and I am so enthusiastic and excited. I would like to thank the series sponsors, Furusiyya, and I know we can look forward to great Nations Cup Jumping here for many years to come”. FEI Director of Jumping, John Roche, pointed out that “this venue is steeped in history and tradition and we have an exceptional line-up of teams this year so we can look forward to great sport tomorrow”. When the team managers were asked to predict the result for tomorrow’s competition, the British were strongly tipped, but Italian Chef d’Equipe, Hans Horn, was not prepared to discount the prospect of a home success. “The British definitely have a great chance, but maybe there will be a surprise, and maybe that surprise will come from the Italian team!” he said. Meanwhile German Chef d’Equipe, Heinrich Hermann Engemann, supported a win for his own side. “We have come here with a strong team and we will be trying to win tomorrow” he warned.
Ukrainian Chef d’Equipe, Najib Chami, talked about the challenge his side will face. “For sure it will be more difficult for us than last year when we were in the Promotional League. Now we are in Division 1 we must face the top riders and the top horses but, technically, we have been competing against them for years. Most of our team members live, and compete, in Western Europe and are already competing at shows against the riders who are here, and our results are always good” he insisted. He also pointed out that his team have been training together in Belgium for the last few weeks in preparation for tomorrow’s Nations Cup. Later this evening he will choose his four-member side from Ulrich Kirchhoff, Cassio Rivetti, Oleg Kraysuk, Katharina Offel and Ferenc Szentirmai. Kirchhoff, who won individual and team gold for Germany at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996, has only been flying the Ukrainian flag for the last few weeks. “He is a great addition to our country” said the Ukrainian manager who also believes his side has a winning chance.
All Guns Blazing…
However the British came out with all guns blazing in the first big international competition at Piazza di Siena where Scott Brash steered the fastest course with Bon Ami to stand at the top of the prize-winners podium, while his compatriot from the London 2012 Olympic gold medal winning team, Ben Maher, cruised into fifth with Tripple X.Despite the fact that he brought three of his Olympians to the first leg of Europe Division 1 at La Baule, France last Friday where they struggled to finish equal-third with the French and Irish despite a double-clear from Nick Skelton, British Chef d’Equipe, Rob Hoekstra, was in bullish form about chances tomorrow. “I took five good riders to France and I’ve brought the same team here. Last week some of them were just not up to speed, but we’ve had a team talk this week, and I can promise you they will be a lot sharper tomorrow!” he said decisively.
See the start list here
Source: Piazza di Sienna