Germany on top, France close behind

Germany won the Barrière Nations Cup at the close of a superb event.

Germany on top, France close behind

7 June 2024

Among the firm favourites to win the Olympic title in a few weeks, the Mannschaft edged out a very talented French team by just a single point. Saturday's programme will be jam-packed with the traditional Derby Région Pays de la Loire, the Prix Saur, the final qualifier for Sunday's Rolex Grand Prix Ville de La Baule and culminating in the ‘Étoiles du Complet’, featuring the French eventing champions.  

The Nations' Cup Barrière again worked magic at the François André stadium in La Baule. The winning nation was not decided until the very end of the event. When Philipp Weishaupt, the last German rider, took to the track with Zineday, the tension in the stands peaked. Just before him, Roger-Yves Bost and Delph de Denat HDC's clear round kept alive any French hopes of winning for the first time since 2017. On the Grégory Bodoa designed course, Weishaupt had the fate of his team in his hands: a clear round gave victory to Germany, ideally positioned by Kendra Claricia Brinkop (Tabasco de Toxandria Z), Marcus Ehning (Coolio 42) and Andre Thieme (DSP Chakaria), while a single fault was enough to defy the French. 

The German, who was already impeccable in the first heat, put in another excellent performance to lead his team to victory for the seventh time in La Baule, but for the first time since 2007."I'm very proud to win after so many years," says team leader Otto Becker. “I was on the team at the time! First and foremost, I'd like to thank the organisers because this is a tremendous competition at every level, with perfect conditions for the horses, riders, and great spectators. This victory is the upside of my work. Now we must choose the couples for the Olympic Games, which will be difficult because I have many excellent riders and horses. But that's the job!"

The performance of his four pairs today may make his choice more challenging. Weishaupt, for example, showed his composure with a decisive double clear round. "It's the most exciting part of the Nations Cup when you're the last to go, and you know you have to get a clear round,' he says. Riding a horse like Zineday is a great pleasure and a fantastic opportunity. I'd also like to mention the crowd at La Baule and their incredible fair play. They were very respectful when I entered the arena when I could have deprived France of victory. And after my lap, they applauded loudly. Outstanding sportsmanship isn't necessarily the norm everywhere. Here, all the riders feel very welcome. Thank you for that. It reinforces my choice to be here. I chose to compete in the Nations Cup, which I wanted to do before the Olympic Games. For me, it was an obvious decision to come to La Baule. The competition gets better and better every year." 

Marcus Ehning, also on the team in 2007, doesn't hide his satisfaction with Coolio 42 (4+0). "It's always a pleasure to come here to La Baule," he explains. It's been a long time since I've won anything. Coolio is a new horse; this was his first Nations Cup, and it's very encouraging for the future.” 2021 European champion with DSP Chakaria, Andre Thieme, also did himself proud (0+4). "My mare wasn't very competitive last year, and I didn't qualify for the European Championships. I'm delighted to be back at this level. She's getting stronger every weekLastly, Kendra Clairica Brinkop, who has been soaring up the world rankings for the past several months and has produced excellent performances, including a double clear round last week in the Nations Cup at the CSIO 5* in Rome, also won by Germany, confirmed her rise in form with her 9-year-old Tabasco de Toxandria Z (4+0). "The last few months have indeed been very positive," she says. "But when you have riders like that by your side, you want to be at the top of your game."

The French happy to finish runners-up!

"Wow! What a dream venue, what a dream crowd, what magic!" Olivier Robert's reaction after he scored a double clear round with Iglesias D.V.  illustrates the sentiment of the French team perfectly, who finished second, just one point behind Germany. "Over and above the result, I'm truly pleased with how the riders rode, and the horses jumped,"rejoices team manager Henk Nooren. "We've had two disappointing Nations Cups this year, with sub-par performances. Today, we saw seven excellent rounds. Bosty had a poor first round but made a fantastic recovery in the second. This event gives me much information to put in my 'basket'. Like the other team leaders, we'll have to make some difficult choices for the Olympic Games. François-Xavier Boudant, another double clear rider with Brazil du Mezel, was competing in his first Nations Cup at La Baule. "My horse hadn't jumped obstacles like this for a long time and did really well". 

Simon Delestre's joy was shared by I Amelusina R 51 (5+4): "The horse is very sensitive and respectful. Since the start of the season, he has often placed and has performed superbly."

Last to start, Roger-Yves Bost was able to react after a complicated line in the first round, including a fault on the river (10 points in total). "I knew a clear round would pressure Germany, and we could win. I didn't do too well in the first round and wanted to get it right in the second. Belgium joined Germany and France on the podium. In the lead after the first round despite the elimination of Kent Farrington (two refusals at the entrance to the double), the United States then dropped back to sixth place, behind Switzerland (4th) and Austria (5th, with a double clear round from Max Kühner).

Earlier in the day, in the other CSI 5* event on Friday's programme, Sweden's Angelica Augutsson Zanotelli put on a show with her Selle Français mare Dyrka du Carry to win the Prix Captain Jet (1.45m, time event). With a lead of 1m42s, she beat Belgium's Olivier Philippaerts on Kwik Tweet and Spain's Eduardo Alvarez Aznar on Made int' Ruytershof. With Flashing de Riverland, Marie Demonte was the best French rider, in 5th place.  

In the CSI 1* events, Belgium's Jordy van Massenhove on Konita HX won the Prix Datanaute (1.30m) and France's Anthony Boughara Duplaix on Athika des Roches, the Prix Hectares & Patrimoines (1.15m).

A complete and spectacular programme for Saturday

On Saturday, the La Baule spectators will be treated to the traditional Derby Région Pays de la Loire on a new course designed by Grégory Bodo. The Prix Saur, the second richest individual event of the competition, will also offer the last qualifying places for Sunday's Rolex Grand Prix Ville de La Baule. The day will conclude with 'Les étoiles du Complet’, a demonstration event contested by the riders who have won medals for France at the most prestigious events. Nicolas Touzaint, Astier Nicolas, Karim Laghouag, Maxime Livio, Jean-Lou Bigot and Stéphane Landois will compete on a derby-style course. It is a superb opportunity for champions to share the same passion and to do a good deed. Platinum Sellier is organising a lottery open to all to coincide with this unique event. Participants will have the chance to win a magnificent My Sbox competition trunk. More than half of the proceeds from the lottery will be donated to the HOPE association, which supports women during and after cancer by sharing horse therapy sessions.