Another Disastrous Nations Cup for Britain was at least accompanied by a justifiable excuse for a performance that left the team last of the seven countries in contention at the Kerrygold Dublin Horse Show – and therefore the one to drop out before the second round – with Belgium taking victory ahead of France and the United States, and Ireland's winning European Championship team a disappointing fourth.
Michael Whitaker, last to jump for the British quartet, had looked to be en route to a fine clear round on First Samuel, until the horse spooked at a female member of the television crew who was holding up a large special effects microphone beside the ninth obstacle. First Samuel ran out to the opposite side of the fence, incurring four jumping and nine time faults in an otherwise flawless round.
With Robert Smith having the discard score of 16 jumping and nine time faults on the extremely disappointing Athos du Vallot, Whitaker's score had to be added to the four fault rounds from Tim Stockdale on Parcival and Scott Smith on Cabri d'Elle for a first round total of 21 faults. Although the British chef d'equipe, Michael Bullman, lodged a complaint about the offending microphone (which was held down for most of the competitors but raised at Whitaker's approach) there was never any real likelihood that the British faults would be reduced.
This was another triumph for the Belgians, who gained their first Aachen Nations Cup victory in June and their first in the 76-year history of the Dublin Horse Show. They appeared to suffer an unlucky set-back when their last rider, Stanny Van Paesschen, had a fall after O de Pomme slipped up on the turn to the final fence. But, thanks to a double clear round from Ludo Philippaerts on Parco, they still finished one fault ahead of the French runners-up.
Ireland made an unhappy start with Peter Charles making a rare misjudgement of pace to incur five time faults in an otherwise faultless round on Corrada. Single errors from Jessica Kurten on Bonita and Kevin Babington on Carling King, plus two mistakes from Dermott Lennon on Liscalgot, left them with a deficit that they could not wipe out.
Kerrygold Dublin Horse Show: Nations Cup for Aga Khan Trophy: 1 Belgium 8 faults; 2 France 9; 3 USA 12; 4 Ireland 14; 5 Germany 20; 6 Switzerland 40. GB scores: Parcival (T Stockdale) 4 faults; Senator Athos du Vallot (R Smith) 25; Cabri d'Elle (S Smith) 4; First Samuel (M Whitaker) 13.
Kerrygold Relay: =1 Diamond Explosion (Capt G Flynn, Irl) with Killossery (Lt S Carey, Irl) and Burning Fedor (H Bourdy, Fr) with Cabdula du Tillard (E Couperie, Fr) 87.08secs; 3 Senator Mr Springfield (R Smith) with Prince of Wales (M Whitaker) 87.13.Reuse content