Battle Builds in Barcelona

By September 23, 2015
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Laura Kraut and Nouvelle compete on the Miami leg of the 2015 Longines Global Champions Tour. (Photo: Stefano Grasso)

The buzz is building for tomorrow’s $2.6 million Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final 2015 at FC Barcelona’s Real de Polo.

Spaniard Alvarez Moya had determination written all over his face as he promised, “when it comes to the Furusiyya Final in my home country I will be giving it 100 per cent!”

He’ll have to: he’ll be going up against some of the best riders in the world, including a plethora of Olympians, among them Dutch Olympic gold medalist and Jeroen Dubbeldam, a former world and European champion, Germany’s Marcus Ehning, former world champion and Olympic team gold medalist, France’s Penelope Leprevost, veteran of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs, who competed in no less than five Olympics between 1988 and 2004, and Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander, whose 2008 Olympic tour vies with her back-to-back wins on the Global Champions Tour (2011-2012).

Girl-power will fuel the U.S. effort, with a team of distaff superstars: Lucy Davis (riding Barron and Curtis), Lauren Hough (Ohlala, Royalty Des Isles), Reed Kessler (Charity, Cylana), Laura Kraut (Nouvelle, Zeremonie) and Beezie Madden (Cortes C).  They’ll ride under the eye of USEF chef d’equipe Robert Ridland.

How the teams line out

A massive field of 19 nations have qualified for the event that will decide the fate of the 2015 Furusiyya title when the action draws to a combustible close next Saturday night.

Team Poland will be first into the ring when the Furusiyya Final 2015 gets underway tomorrow afternoon at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona (ESP).
The draw took place today, and the order-of-go for tomorrow’s first competition is as follows:

  1. Poland
  2. Australia
  3. France
  4. Italy
  5. Switzerland
  6. Spain
  7. Qatar
  8. Egypt
  9. Great Britain
  10. Germany
  11. Netherlands
  12. Mexico
  13. Belgium
  14. Brazil
  15. Sweden
  16. USA
  17. Czech Republic
  18. Ireland
  19. Venezuela
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California rider Lucy Davis and Barron won the Grand Prix of Lausanne on the 2013 Global Champions Tour. (Photo: Stefano Grasso)

Tough call

It’s a tough call for the Polish side who battled hard to qualify from the Europe Division 2 qualifying series along with Czech Republic. However Dutch Chef d’Equipe, Rob Ehrens, insisted this evening, “there is nothing between the teams when the competition begins tomorrow, every country has the same chance.”

His side are firm favourites to take their second Furusiyya title in a row however. Ehrens has brought the dream-team that began an extraordinary sequence of victories when scooping team and individual gold at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy, France last September. They were back on the top step of the podium at the 2014 Furusiyya Final the following month and, just a few short weeks ago, swept all before them at the FEI European Championships 2015 in Aachen (GER). They seem like an

With typical modesty however, Ehrens insisted this evening that the anything can happen over the coming days. “We have already achieved more than we could ever have imagined, it has been incredible what has happened for us over the last year. But we all keep our feet on the ground. The difference between winning and losing is so very little, we have returned to Barcelona to do our best job, but a couple of mistakes tomorrow and it could all be over already. That’s our sport. We embrace the moments when it goes well, but we always stay grounded,” said the man who is widely admired for his exceptional team leadership.

All 19 nations will line out in tomorrow’s opening class from which the top eight countries will qualify for Saturday night’s €1.5 million Final. The teams that don’t make the cut will compete in Friday’s €300,000 Longines Challenge Cup.

Successful concept

This year’s line-up of nations underlines the success of the concept that inspired the Furusiyya series, drawing more and more countries into the sport of Nations Cup Jumping and watching them develop and grow. Few could have guessed that revitalizing a much-loved format with a history that goes back for over a century would be such a success story. It met with some resistance at first but, in its third season, the series that was once restricted to an elite group of nations has expanded and thrived to such an extent that a total of 45 countries participated in 19 qualifiers across six regions worldwide this year.

As FEI Jumping Director, John Roche, said this evening “we have great representation here in Barcelona from all across the globe this year, and we also have many of the best riders in the world.”

The prize monies of €2.3 million will be awarded in Euros.

The excitement was captured in a 30-second video clip shot at the iconic Camp Nou soccer stadium. Watch the making of the FC Barcelona video here.

The Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final 2015 runs from Sept. 24-27 at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain. For more information visit www.csiobarcelona.com.
Competition Timetable:

Thursday, 24 September, 16.30 (local time in Spain, GMT + 2 hours)
1st competition (all qualified teams start)
Friday, 25 September, 21.00
2nd competition, Longines Challenge Cup (teams placed ninth and below after first competition)
Saturday, 26 September, 21.00
3rd competition, Final (top eight teams after first competition)
For further information on the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping series check out this link.

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