What a scene in Stregom! This afternoon, Ireland climbed to the roof of Europe after capturing team gold with a total of zero points in the Polish continental fixture. After three excellent rounds, the Emerald Isle’s representatives reclaimed their last title in 2019. France, who won the title last year, finally grabbed the silver thanks to Nohlan Vallatt and the ultimate perfect course he signed. Daenerys D Hurl Vent. Fourth after the first two rounds, the Netherlands climbed onto the podium to take bronze. Individually, six couples lead the way, including two tricolors.
These are the days we love! After a historic sixth place finish for trainers yesterday, the Bluevets took team silver this afternoon in show jumping. The 2021 European champion, Olivier Bost’s quintet, failed to defend their title, but surprisingly given the inexperience of the pair selected this year, all but Nohlen will leave Poland with a glorious silver medal as they compete in their first continental time-out. Vallat and Daenerys de Hurlwent.
The first riders entered the track around 1.30pm. When the first round was contested yesterday morning, six teams shared the lead with clean scores, Ireland, France, Denmark, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands. Soon the scores got heavier. If the Irish don’t add any points to their counter after this first rotation, thanks to three clear rounds at the helm of Paddy Reep and French pony Valma de Faugnard, neither will their main rivals, including France. The champions of France, Pony Elite Excellence Emma Gay Le Breton and Bad Boy du Beau Mont, started well and the Bluevets, authors of a remarkable perfect lap, had some trouble later on. Despite a magnificent run, Lou Ann Berod and Angaro of Qofani couldn’t avoid stepping into the river, which could only be noted for the lack of a jingle, so little mistake. Then Franco-Irish Jack Conlon Gateau entered the track with his samba van de Groenheuvel. The gray, just eight years old, looked slightly embarrassed, kicking repeatedly. Unfortunately, the couple took the first two elements of triple number five with them and experienced a slightly precarious approach to double number eleven before they too set foot on the river. After this sixteen-point lap, the final pair of Nohlan Vallatt and his Daenerys de Hurl Vent had no choice but to leave the track without a penalty to keep France in contention. The European team champion said it too soon for Marr. Without any difficulty, and even giving the crowd a slight scare at the start of the final doubles, the pair came out of this first round unscathed.
Ireland lead France and Denmark at the end of this first round, level on four points in total. The Netherlands was in fourth place with twelve points that day.
A second round under pressure, with money at the end!
On this very erratic course, couples who have managed to sign off on a double clear round are rare – there are only seven. Twelve times, duos were released with more than three bars on the clock. At the start of the second round, France was guaranteed a place on the podium if they did not score more than eight points. Denmark, then neck and neck with the Blues, saw their medal chances quickly disappear with three courses penalized by two bars.
The first tricolor to re-enter the track, Emma Gay Le Breton repeated her extraordinary performance. Always very airy and generous, his Bad Boy du Beau Mont went through the obstacles without a hitch, leaving the track, once again, with a clean score. The pair were quickly imitated as the first Irish couple formed by Coyne Williams and Saxton Freedom. As a result, Lou Ann Berod and her Ungaro of Kwofani did not repeat their mistake on the river and were banned for this second race. As the cells passed, the France team cheered, two! Paddy Reep made use of the Irish joker, hitting a bar with the very good Valma de Faugnard, who was running his first European Championships. Eager to catch up after a missed first round, Jack Conlon Gateau couldn’t quite find his samba this time. The couple again charged sixteen points by faulting the triple, number eight and entering the double eleven. A day to forget for the pair that did not reflect their excellent performances throughout the season. However, on the Irish side, third pair James Brennan and MHS Glow recorded no relief.
Then came the fourth and final raiders. Entering the track, Nohlan Vallatt was eligible to secure the silver medal, two bars away to face the Netherlands in the jump-off, and no one expected to win gold against the Irish. He has proven it before but showed it again today, the young rider has a strong nerve. Having won the Pony Jumping Trophy stage at Lyon last October, he once again rode a superb course with remarkable ease, without a hitch, in his extraordinary grey, specially tuned to run this event last. On arrival, the money is insured. One thing is for sure, both of them will have a very big card to play individually on Sunday. If gold was within reach if the last Irish couple, James Derwin and Ringola Babog, made a mistake, the duo quickly dashed their European title hopes, giving Ireland another title on ponies.
Thanks to great runs by Yfke Priem / Zafarano vh Gehucht Z, Jersey Kuijpers / Lafaletta and Siebe Leemans / Noriego vd Riloo, the Netherlands did not increase their score to twelve points. So these three couples are on the third step of the podium with Ave Eden van Grunsven and Bethany Voss.
Coen Williams, Paddy Reep, James Brennan, James Derwin and Eoin Brennan – the team’s fifth rider, their scores not counted – are European Champions, so after Jean Hirrell, Anna Sarzewski, Nohlan Vallatt, Lola Brion and Mary Ann Sullivan! France, silver this year, must have regretted this little leg on the river, but who cares. After the sale of its four European champions and the selection of a couple of newcomers at this level, the title of vice champion of Europe is already very nice!
Individually, six riders totaled zero points, including Nohlan Wallath and Emma Gay Le Breton, who will look to improve on Sunday in the individual finals. Lou Ann Berod is currently in seventh place with four points. Team member Arwen Le Saux, who was also called to the podium but was racing individually, was fined four points twice for his energetic All Best du Rond Pre today. Tonight, the couple is the fourteenth. Jack Colon Gate is ranked 43rd.
Tomorrow morning, the second batch of trainers will head out for the individual test, and in the afternoon the completists will jump on the cross.
Tv fanatic. Amateur food maven. Devoted webaholic. Travel lover. Entrepreneur. Evil writer. Beer guru.