Dutch riders strike gold in Longines FEI Nations Cup Final

The team from the Netherlands were victorious in Barcelona 

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The Netherlands team rode out the winners of the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 Final at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona.

Finishing with just a single time fault, the new champions pinned Team USA into runner-up spot while Belgium, who also finished on a four-fault scoreline, lined up third when combined times were taken into account.

Another masterful course designed by Santiago Varela ensured that it came down to the last-line riders to decide the result of this 2017 title-decider, and it was cliff-hanger until Smolders sealed it with a copybook round from his European individual silver medal-winning ride Don VHP.

Jur Vrieling (48) set the stage with a similarly impressive run with the fabulous stallion, VDL Glasgow V. Merelsnest and the only fault they would count would come from Michel Hendrix (30) and Baileys who went just over the time-allowed of 81 seconds.

Third-line rider Marc Houtzager was the only one to post a single error, with Sterrehof’s Calimero, at the first element of the double at fence five for the discount score.

Chef d'Equipe, Rob Ehrens, was delighted with the performances of all his team members and their horses.

"Jur is experienced but Glasgow is quite green, this year is his first time in a Championship and he was extremely good this week," he said. That’s a horse for me to keep over the winter season because I think this should be a combination for the World Equestrian Games next year.

"Michel Hendrix is an up-and-coming rider, very talented, he produced this horse himself. And Harrie is in brilliant form this year, he’s in the flow! I’m very happy for him and also for the country. He is a top jockey and an unbelievably good team player."

Rob Ehrens is an exceptional team manager, leading the Dutch to a series of brilliant results in recent years and now adding the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 title to his long list of spectacular achievements. 

Read more here.

Great Britain and Ireland missed out on a place in the final day of the competition, which was open to the top eight teams from the opening day qualifier. 

They took part in Saturday's Challenge Cup instead, which was won by the team from the United Arab Emirates.  

A spokesman from the Hickstead Derby sponsor, Al Shira'aa Stables, said: "Congratulations team UAE on winning the Longines FEI Challenge Cup Final on their first attempt, without touching a pole, a truly magnificent achievement. Proving that with focus, dedication, horsemanship and team work, you can achieve your dreams!"

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