Exciting battle over participation in the EEF Longines Series Final
From September 14 to 17, the Służewiec Racecourse will host an equestrian feast – CSIO4* Warsaw Jumping. The EEF Longines Series Final, which will feature the national teams from Poland, Ukraine, France, Belgium, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Slovakia, will be the icing on the cake of this international show jumping competition, with a number of extra attractions for fans planned in the program.
They began their road to the final of the European Nations Cup back in April. Teams that performed best in the regional qualifiers (a total of seven were held) earned the right to compete at the Warsaw arena. Then the national teams, consisting of up to four riders, competed in the semifinals of the series, hosted from 22 to 25 June by the beautiful French racecourse in Deauville, and a short while later by the Austrian Ebreichsdorf. It was in these two cities that the top 10 teams were finally selected to present themselves in Poland in September.
Bulgaria scores a full set of points in the first stage
The first qualifying round of this year’s Longines EEF Series was held on April 28 in Gorla Minore, Italy. A symbolic place, because it was the Italians who triumphed in the previous two editions of Warsaw Jumping. It was Bulgaria that won this premier qualifier of the southern region though. Although the top places on the podium of the competition in Italy were taken by the French, Portuguese and Belgians, these teams did not compete for valuable EEF Series ranking positions. It was only the countries of the southern region that competed for points in Gorla Minore. The Bulgarians, whose lineup was composed of Ruslan Petkov/Chaccolino, Rossen Raitchev/Independent, Konstantin E. van Damme/Caesar Z and Ivaylo Bonev/Othello van de Vlasbloemhoeve performed best, earning the most points in the rankings.
The Dutch prove best in Mannheim
After the opening of the season in Gorla Minore, the Longines EEF Series moved to Mannheim, Germany. A rainy Sunday, May 7, saw the Central Region qualifiers held there, with the following teams competing for points: the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Joining them at the arena were teams from Spain, France and Sweden. The Swiss were in the lead after the first round, with the Spanish and Dutch taking the remaining places on the podium. However, the second round led to changes in the stakes and the Dutch team took the lead, being the only one to finish the competition with zero points. The Netherlands was represented by Willem Greve/Highway M TN, Kevin Jochems/Flying Jackie, Loewie Joppen/Havel van de Wolfsakker Z and Frank Schuttert/Hawaii-S. The German team took the second place on the podium, and the Spaniards, not competing for EEF Series points, came in third. Consequently, following the Dutch, who claimed 100 points, and the Germans (90 points), it was the Swiss (80 points) who collected valuable points, as well as Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
France takes the win in Peelbergen
France won the third stage of the Longines EEF Series. The competition in Peelbergen, the Netherlands, was a Western Region event, which featured six countries, i.e. Belgium, France, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Great Britain. Additionally, we had an opportunity to see representatives of Sweden, Norway, Argentina, Germany and the Netherlands. It was France and Argentina that fought for the lead as their riders finished the competition with a clean slate. The main rivals, Maelle Martin and Matias Albarracin, didn’t even make a mistake in the jump-off, hence why it was time that determined who took the top of the podium. The French proved to be a little over two seconds faster. The squad consisted of Aurelien Leroy/Croqsel de Blaignac, Maelle Martin/Bise des Bardellieres, Francois Xavier Boudant/Brazyl du Mezel and Juliette Faligot/Arqana de Riverland. The Argentine national team is not counted in the EEF Series, so as for the Western standings, the French (100 points) and the Spanish (90 points) are followed by the Belgians, who earned 80 points. The following places were taken by Portugal, Ireland and Great Britain.
Americans prove best in Aarlborg, good performance by Poles
The United States national team won the fourth stage of the Longines EEF Series, however they are not a team that participates in the European Nations Cup. Therefore, it was the Danes, ranked second in Aarlborg, who took the valuable points. Whilst the podium was complemented by the Germans, the Poles also had a great performance, finishing the competition in fourth place. Their lineup was composed of Andrzej Opłatek (Diaroubet), Dawid Kubiak (Flash Blue B), Tomasz Miśkiewicz (Stakkato Lazar) and Adam Grzegorzewski (Fanfreluche de Rialfo Z).
Dutch best in Drammen
The Dutch national team won the fifth stage of the Longines EEF Series, which was held in Drammen, Norway, on June 2. The Poles, who advanced to the semifinals in Deauville, France as the leaders of the standings, finished third in the competition of the northern region of the European Nations Cup.
Ukraine wins in Athens
The Ukrainian national team won the next qualifying competition. The competition held on June 4 in Athens was a competition for the Southern Region. The venue in the Greek capital city saw a modest lineup as only those teams that were competing for ranking points decided to participate. Except for the hosts, the Southern Region qualifiers saw competition between teams from Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania and the defending champions Italians. In the end, the riders from Ukraine turned out to be the best, having saved themselves from mistakes in the second turn and ending their starts with four penalty points. Our eastern neighbors team consisted of Konstantin Zolin/Hending van de Bresser, Mykola Pylypeiko/Karat, Eduard Slobodeniuk/My Blue Pleasure d’Ive Z and Anastasia Bondarieva/Calder. The Greeks came in second place. At that point, Ukraine and Italy’s national teams shared the lead in the Southern Region standings. The competition in Athens also settled the first five teams to earn the right to compete in the semifinals in Ebreichsdorf.
Bratislava taken by Ireland in June
The Irish national team won another qualifying competition on June 9. The competition in Bratislava was held under the Central Region and at the same time, it was the last stage before the semifinals in Deauville and Ebreichsdorf. The Irish national team gathered a full set of points in Slovakia. The Austrians came in second, and the Slovaks complemented the podium. The French national team won the first of the two Longines EEF Series semifinals. The Polish team came in fifth place in Deauville, and thus advanced to the grand final, which will be held on September 17 in Warsaw during the CSIO4* Warsaw Jumping at the Służewiec Racecourse.
Semifinal in Deauville
Ten teams, who performed best in the Western and Northern region qualifiers, came to Deauville for the semifinals. These were France, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Lithuania, Finland and Poland, the latter entered the semifinals as the regional leader. The Polish team led by coach Jan Vinckier performed in the following line-up: Dawid Kubiak (Flash Blue B), Michał Kaźmierczak (Notis), Michał Tyszko (Colinero) and Wojciech Wojcianiec (Chintablue). The time was to determine whether or not the Poles would qualify for the finals. Poland, Ireland and Spain scored the same number of penalty points (eight points each), so the pace in overcoming the obstacles was of great importance. The second round saw a major change in the stakes, and it was unclear who was going to win in Deauville until the very end. Ultimately, this was settled in the jump-off competed by the Swedes, the French and the Belgians. A representative of the home team, Mathieu Billot (Quel Filou), turned out to be the best in it. Wilm Vermeir (Joyride S) secured the second place for Belgium, while a single drop by Erika Swartz (Madonna) put Sweden on the lowest step of the podium. In addition to the Poles, it was France, Belgium, Sweden and Spain who advanced to the European Nations Cup finals.
The other semifinal in Ebreichsdorf
On June 30, the Ebreichsdorf arena hosted the other ten teams that performed best in the qualification of the southern and central regions. They were Slovakia, Romania, the Netherlands, Austria, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Greece, Ukraine, Germany and defending champion Italy. As far as Italy stood a chance of winning after the first run, everything changed in the second turn. It was the Dutch, consisting of Henk Fredriks/Impian D, Vincent Dings/Cream Couler Z, Mark Martens/Kinmar Quality Hero and Eric Ten Cate/Incredible, who claimed victory. The Ukrainian team came in second, followed by the Swiss in third. The top five also included Austria and Slovakia. What was quite a surprise was that Italy scored as many as 20 penalty points in the second turn. Such a large score meant that the defending team from Italy only took the sixth place and had to say goodbye to their participation at Warsaw’s Służewiec. Instead, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Switzerland, Austria and Slovakia won the ticket to Poland.
Sport excitement and attractions galore in the final
It’s another consecutive year that nearly a hundred riders from the Old Continent and more than 200 horses will arrive in Warsaw to compete in more than a dozen international competitions, including several featured in the world ranking. Sports-wise, the final of the EEF Longines Series will obviously be the most important one, but the organizers have also planned a number of additional attractions for fans, including a variety of shows or hobby horse competitions. The event will also feature exciting horse races at the beautifully restored historic racecourse.