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Federation Equestre Internationale News

Samsung Super League News : Top-Hats and Tails At Traditional Dublin!

The Samsung Super League road show comes to Dublin next week with France still holding the narrowest of leads over the Irish while the British continue to gather pace. This promises to be one of the most exciting legs of the series to date, with the host team determined to oust the French from the head of the pack and the British in bullish form after their success in Hickstead.

Dublin is a heady mixture of horses, heroes and haute couture with emphasis placed on tradition and judges, officials and special guests will be attired in top-hats and tails while the ladies will don their finest attire as the teams battle it out for the Aga Khan Cup on Friday August 8th.

It’s a festival of all that is good in equestrian sport and, after 130 years, it claims a special place in the Irish summer calendar. The first Dublin Horse Show was staged in 1868 when hunting horses competed over the "high leap", the "wide leap" and stone walls on the Lawns of Leinster House, now Government Buildings, in the heart of the city. After three days of competition, sheep-farmer Richard Flynn from County Roscommon in the west of Ireland was awarded the world’s first show jumping championship title. The event moved to the Royal Dublin Society Showgrounds in Ballsbridge in 1881 and it was here, in 1926, that the first Nations Cup competition took place with Switzerland claiming the honours.

The Swiss will be sadly missed this year as they did not qualify for the Super League but the show goes on and, with just three more legs left in the Samsung series its coming down to the wire.

For the French it’s really a matter of pride now that they should stay out in front. They have been there from the start, they have proven without doubt that they belong in the elite group of international show jumping teams and they like holding the whip hand. This time, team regulars Florian Angot, Michel Hecart and Christian Hermon are joined by Super League newcomer Laurent Goffinet.

For the Irish it’s only a matter of time before they take over the lead. They have been stalking the French for some weeks now and, just a half-point behind on the leaderboard, they are waiting for a Gallic blunder which will give them the opportunity to pounce on pole position. The Irish line-up is altered again with Peter Charles side-lined in favour of Robert Splaine whose early performances with the Irish Sport Horse stallion Coolcorron Cool Diamond were nothing short of sensational and whose efforts really boosted the Irish position.

The rock-solid partnership of Kevin Babington and Carling King have campaigned the entire Super League series so far and they line out once more along with Cian O’Connor and Waterford Crystal who were so impressive in Hickstead and Billy Twomey with Luidam.

The traditional Anglo-Irish rivalry will be at an all-time high this year after the recent controversies about horse-ownership and horse-transfers and the Irish may have to suffer the irritation of seeing Michael Whitaker lining out with the former Trevor Coyle ride, Fleur. It had been hoped that Coyle would bounce back into the Irish team effort with the American-owned mare this summer but the British rider, who competed with Fleur much earlier in her career, has her back in his yard. British tails are up after their convincing win on their home ground and another good result in Dublin would bring a dramatic change to the leaderboard so Whitaker, William Funnell, Nick Skelton and Robert Smith will be ones to watch next week.

Germany, comfortably holding fourth position on the league table at present, sends Franz-Josef Dahlmann, Fritz Fervers, Andreas Ripke and Rene Tebbel but the Belgians, lying fifth, must be feeling far from easy after their disastrous elimination in Hickstead. The Super League series has been full of frustration for them, with the Irish denying them victory in Aachen and then stops for both Dirk Demeersman and Jean Claude Vangeenberghe leading to elimination at the British fixture. Vangeenberghe, Jos Lansink, Philippe Lejeune and Stanny Van Paesschen are likely to be in serious mood when they ride into the Dublin arena.

Holland’s Marc Houtzager won the Dublin Grand Prix last summer and returns again with Jacomar but the Dutch are in that vulnerable bunch at the bottom of the league table so along with Peter Geerink, Wim Schroder and Eric Van der Vleuten he needs to give it everything he’s got in the battle for the Aga Khan Trophy.

With just 10.5 points on the board the Dutch are only a half-point ahead of Sweden who are pulling no punches this time around and are sending out a strong squad including Malin Baryard, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, Maria Gretzer and Helena Persson to try and retrieve the situation as they battle to stay ahead of the Italians who are bringing up the rear.

Italy finished second in the Dublin Nations Cup last year but Super League success has eluded them all season and they are trailing the pack with just eight points so there is severe pressure on Roberto Arioldi, Bruno Chimirri, Enrico Maria Frana and Massimo Grossato to produce something special and save their side from relegation. With only one further leg before the final in Barcelona in September, time is quickly running out.

The French are reigning Dublin champions. Almost as an advance warning of how it would be at the World Championships in Jerez just a few weeks later they produced five clear rounds to leave the result in no doubt and they have hardly faltered since.

The Irish however are well-known for their fighting spirit and, to them, the Aga Khan Trophy is more precious than any other in the world. World Champion, Dermott Lennon, has not returned to the squad since the fall last March which left him with a badly-broken arm but his mare Liscalgot is now back in work again and although he will not be competing next week he may be making a guest appearance in the interval between the two rounds of the Samsung Super League when tenor Ronan Tynan, the Pavarotti of the Emerald Isle, will also be entertaining the crowd.

The Irish are hoping they will have even more to sing about when the competition is over but there is so much at stake for so many teams in this third-last leg of the Samsung series that it promises to be one of the fiercest battles yet…

Keep up to date with the latest news from Dublin Horse Show at website

ALSO PLEASE NOTE that the website for the SAMSUNG SUPER LEAGUE FINAL IN BARCELONA in now up and running at


1. France - 37 points
2. Ireland - 36.5 points
3. Great Britain - 26 points
4. Germany - 21 points
5. Belgium - 13.5 points
6. Holland - 10.5 points
7. Sweden - 10 points
8. Italy - 8 points.


You can access all the latest Samsung Super League news and information on website and don’t forget that Biographies on all Riders competing in the series are available at

Want to know more? You can check the full rules for the Samsung Super League Series on the FEI website, section reference – rules

The Samsung Super League consists of the eight most prestigious horse shows at which the world’s eight best national teams compare their merit. The Super League is connected to the Samsung Nations Cup Series through a promotion/relegation system at the end of each season.

Samsung Electronics, one of the world’s largest electronics companies, is committed to supporting international sporting events thereby returning corporate profits to the public and working towards a more harmonious and equitable society.


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