Equestrianism: Germans stay one jump ahead

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The Independent Online
GERMANY defeated Britain and France in yesterday's Nations Cup, but there was no more than a mere three-quarters of a fault between the three at the end of this absorbing marathon between 11 countries.

Only two riders - Dirk Hafemeister for Germany on Bonito and Michel Robert for France on Nonix - jumped two clear rounds within the time. Both were hoping to gain Olympic places and will surely have achieved that objective.

Nick Skelton seems equally sure of joining John Whitaker in Barcelona having confirmed that his rapport with Everest Dollar Girl, so stylishly displayed here on Wednesday, is now firmly established. This class mare jumped two assured clear rounds to collect only marginal time faults.

But if the British selectors were hoping for further solutions to their Olympic conundrum they were not forthcoming. The other three team members did nothing to put themselves out of contention over a tough course. Tina Cassan, having had the discard score of 4.75 faults in the first round, was faultless on Genesis at the second attempt.

David Broome had one error with Ancit Countryman in both rounds, while Michael Whitaker followed his single mistake on Henderson Monsanta with a flawless clear. In the end it was just a quarter time fault that gave Germany victory with a total of 8.75 to Britain's nine with France on 9.5.

The French had been leading with 0.25 of a fault after the first round. Brazil (who had only three riders and so had to count every score) were second on 5.75, with Britain third on 8.25 and Germany fourth on 8.5. With the number of nations reduced to six for the second round, the battle continued without the Netherlands, the reigning European championship team, who had been lying only seventh on 16.75.

NATIONS CUP (Aachen) 1 Germany: Taggi (S von Roenne) 4 faults, 8 faults; Bonito (D Hafemeister) 0, 0; Optiebeurs Lucky Luke (O Becker) 4.5, 0; Almox Classic Touch (L Beerbaum) 16, 0.25. Total: 8.75.

2 Great Britain: Everest Dollar Girl (N Skelton) 0.25, 0.75; Genesis (T Cassan) 4.75, 0; Ancit Countryman (D Broome) 4, 4.25; Henderson Monsanta (M Whitaker) 4, 0. Total: 9.

3 France: President Papillon Bose (R-Y Bost) 8.25, 5.25; Samsung Papillon Rouge (X Leredde) 0.25, 8; Nonix (M Robert) 0, 0; Razzia de L'Ain (H Bourdy) 0, 4. Total: 9.5.

Overall scores: 4 Spain 20.25; 5 Switzerland 23.75.