GB showjumpers hit peak form
July 13, 2012 18:21 pm
Great Britain's showjumpers produced their best performance of the FEI Nations Cup season to finish second at Falsterbo in Sweden.
It took a three-way jump off between Britain, Sweden and France before the winners could be decided, but despite a superb round by Will Funnell on Billy Angelo - the combination's third successive clear of the afternoon - Sweden prevailed.
It was the hosts' fourth Nations Cup victory on home soil in 10 years and owed everything to the brilliance of Jens Fredricson, riding Lunatic.
Like Funnell, Fredricson also left every fence standing in each round of the main competition, but was then more than three seconds clear.
Their jump off time of 37.62 seconds comfortably surpassed Funnell's 40.75, with France - winners in Aachen eight days ago - third after Jerome Hurel (Ohm De Ponthual) had four faults.
France would have prevented the jump off from taking place had Penelope Leprevost and Topinambour gone clear in normal time, yet one fence down meant a nerve-tingling finale.
Funnell, who missed out on selection for Britain's London 2012 Olympic team, produced a blistering performance that ensured his team remained in contention throughout.
The experienced Robert Smith, back on Nations Cup duty following a lengthy break, had a clear round and four faults aboard Voila, while British Olympic reserve Tina Fletcher posted a clear and eight with Ursula XII.
And despite 18-year-old debutant Alexandra Thornton having 29 faults across both rounds on Caballero 84, it was a thoroughly satisfying day for British team boss Rob Hoekstra.
It underlined the strength in depth he has developed during his time in charge, with Britain securing a podium finish despite none of their Olympic quartet - Nick Skelton, Ben Maher, Scott Brash or Peter Charles - being in action.
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