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Federation Equestre Internationale News

Samsung Super League News : Roll On Rotterdam..............

After the agony and ecstasy of last weekend's European Championships, show jumping minds have now firmly switched focus to the Samsung Super League with next Friday’s crunch leg in Rotterdam likely to prove pivotal to the end result.

Donaueschingen however was fairly unforgettable.

The agony on the face of Belgium’s Ludo Philippaerts who could afford to have a fence down and still take gold in the final round of the European Individual title-decider when he realised that he had lost everything due to a single time fault, and the ecstasy for Germany when claiming team gold along with all the individual medals were the two extremes of devastation and delight which so often mark great sporting moments.<ep>

Germany’s dominance proved one thing for sure. When they bring out their big guns for a major occasion they are difficult to beat, but that makes the French result in the team championship all the more remarkable. They lost nothing in defeat as they slotted into silver medal position because their best horses and riders have campaigned long and hard in the Samsung Super League all season and yet still presented a colossal challenge. For sheer brilliance and consistency the reigning World Champions are in a league of their own.

There were a few other indicators too after Donaueschingen. The Swiss are clearly Super League material having taken team bronze in fine style ahead of the Belgians but the Irish were far from convincing when finishing in fifth place. They achieved their main goal of Olympic qualification along with the Swiss and the Italians, who put in a remarkably improved performance to finish sixth, but the defending European Champions from Ireland were heavily dependant on the superb double-clear produced by Kevin Babington and Carling King.

Having jumped a further two rounds in last Sunday’s individual final the American-based Irishman felt his courageous chestnut horse needed a break and although scheduled to travel to Holland this week he was permitted by the Irish selectors to head back to the US, via Spruce Meadows, instead.

As a result Cian O’Connor and Billy Twomey, who both competed last weekend, will line out for Ireland again along with Peter Charles while Rotterdam will provide Dermott Lennon with his first Nations Cup outing of 2003. The reigning World Champion has been missing for much of the season since breaking his shoulder in a fall at Gothenberg in March and his mare, Liscalgot, has also been hors de combat but Lennon has a new ride in the stallion, Quality, and has been called up as the Irish are determined to bridge that gap between themselves and the French at the top of the Samsung Super League table. Robert Splaine’s stallion, Coolcorron Cool Diamond, is also included in the squad but is a doubtful starter having pulled a muscle.

The French field a fresh squad including Bruno Broucqsault, Christian Hermon, Edouard Couperie, Hubert Bourdy and Laurent Goffinet, the man who made such a huge impression on his Nations Cup debut in Dublin with the exciting stallion Flipper D’Elle. They have just a six-point advantage over the Irish and it will be interesting to see if they can keep them at bay.

The British, bitterly disappointed by their failure to claim an Olympic qualifying spot, send Andrew Davies, Mark Armstrong, Robert Whitaker, Scott Smith and William Funnell. They appeared to be experiencing somewhat of a renaissance in recent months but things did not go according to plan in Donaueschingen where they finished in ninth position, and that is likely to fill them with even more determination to complete the Samsung Super League on a good note.

The Germans have such depth to their pool of riders that even though none of their European title-winning squad will be in action they still look very strong with their choice of Helena Weinberg, Jorne Sprehe, Lars Nieberg, Carsten-Otto Nagel and Rene Tebbel. Carrying 23 points, and lying fourth of the eight competing teams at this late stage in the series, it seems unlikely however that Germany can threaten the long-time leaders and that they are content to finish the series in a mid-field position.

Ludo Philippaerts will be wanting to leave the memory of last Sunday behind him as he lines out for Belgium alongside Dirk Demeersman, Jean-Claude and Samantha Vangeenbergh and Jos Lansink. In sixth place with 16.5 points the Belgians are just 1.5 points ahead of the Dutch who have combined moments of excellence with huge inconsistency all year but who will be hoping to get it all together on their home turf this Friday.

They need to keep ahead of the Swedes who will pick their team from Helena Persson, Henrik Ankarcrona, Linda Hallgren, Malin Baryard, Maria Gretzer and Rolf Goran Bengtsson because Sweden lies just 2.5 points ahead of Italy at the bottom of the table and while the leaders are fighting it out over these last remaining legs of the series to decide the winner, the lowest-placed nations have a different kind of battle as they struggle to ensure that they do not face relegation in 2004.

Italian Chef d’Equipe, Duccio Bartalucci, must have been well-pleased with his side in Donaueschingen, particularly when taking into account their poor results throughout the Super League series. In Germany they competed with much greater conviction but Bruno and Vincenzo Chimirri, Emanuele Fiorelli, Gianni Govoni and Roberto Arioldi will be under no illusions about the consequences of a weak performance at Rotterdam. Italian unpredictability may be a real danger to the Swedes and Dutch in two day’s time.

So the stage is set for a fascinating second-last leg of the Samsung Super League series. There may be double-points available at the final in Barcelona next month but starting positions there can be improved by a good result this Friday so much is at stake. Rotterdam should be a day of reckoning…..

Keep up to date with all the news from Rotterdam at website For further information you can contact Press Officer Christa Van Duin at Email: or Telephone: 00 31 10 4526729.



1. France - 47 points
2. Ireland - 41 points
3. Great Britain - 33 points
4. Germany - 23 points
5. Belgium – 16.5 points
6. Holland - 15 points
7. Sweden - 11 points
8. Italy – 8.5 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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