Pratoni Cross-Country Gallery and Update: Swiss Impress in Nations Cup; France Takes Over Leading Spot

Switzerland’s Robin Godel leads overnight with Grandeur de Lully CH after an excellent day for the Swiss team. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Though we’re on site at Pratoni with September at the forefront of our minds, today’s cross-country competition does also serve as an important leg in the 2022 Nations Cup series — and one in which Germany, who held the lead after dressage, now find themselves at the bottom of the pack after a tough day that saw team member Anna Siemer unseated from FRH Butts Avondale and Ingrid Klimke retire on course with SAP Hale Bob OLD. That allowed France, who had been sitting second after dressage, to move up to the top spot with three out of their four riders coming home clear and close to the optimum time. The Swiss team, who have been on an extraordinary upswing since the appointment of Andrew Nicholson as their cross-country coach and advisor, step up from third to second with all four of their team riders romping home clear and inside the time. Sweden, who are at their best in Nations Cups and are the reigning series champions, made a big leap from eighth to third, with all four riders home clear and pathfinder Malin Josefsson delivering the first clear inside the time of the day with Golden Midnight. She was one of just two non-Swiss riders to come home inside the time all day: the other was New Zealand’s rising star Amanda Pottinger with Good Timing, while 22-year-old Nadja Minder managed the feat on both her horses, contributing to an excellent day all round for the Swiss front.

The team standings after cross-country.

Switzerland sits top of the charts in the individual standings, after Robin Godel‘s masterful clear inside the time with European Championships ride Grandeur de Lully CH allowed him to stay on his first-phase score of 26 and climb from fifth place, benefitting from a small number of time faults and on-course issues for several of those ahead of him, including overnight leaders Ingrid Klimke and Equistros Siena Just Do It, who slipped to third place overnight after adding 5.2 time penalties. Just ahead of them is France’s Maxime Livio with his own Europeans mount, the leggy grey Api du Libaire, who moved up a placing after adding just two time penalties to his first-phase score of 25.4. Nadja Minder sits fourth, having climbed ten places with her team mount Toblerone after a penalty-free round, and also moved up 21 places to eighth with her individual ride, Aquila B, who also added nothing. France’s Nicolas Touzaint, who became European Champion here in 2007, rounds out the top five with Absolut Gold HDC.

The individual top ten after cross-country day at Pratoni.

The Italian National Championships leaderboard also saw a shake-up, with just nine of the 14 starters completing, and five doing so sans jumping penalties. Pietro Grandis, who has recently set up his own yard after several years as second rider for Michael Jung, remains atop the leaderboard after adding 3.2 time penalties with Scuderia 1918 Future, while Susanna Bordone was fastest of the Italians, moving up from eighth to second after coming home just two seconds over the optimum time with the experienced Imperial van de HoltakkersPietro Sandei and his stalwart Rubis du Prere step up from 12th to third with an efficient clear, and Emiliano Portale overcame a tempestuous dressage test with Aracne dell’Esercito Italiano, whose extraordinary gallop made him one of the most fun horses to watch over the hilly track and helped him climb from ninth to fourth. Rounding out the top five is Federico Sacchetti, who piloted the nine-year-old GRC Shiraz to just 1.2 time penalties and a big climb from fourteenth place.

The overnight leaderboard in the Italian national championships.

Want a closer look at how the course rode, and what that might mean for this September’s World Championships? We’ve taken a closer look — with the help of Irish Olympian Sam Watson — in our end-of-day analysis, and we’ll be bringing you plenty of insight from designer Giuseppe della Chiesa tomorrow. Just here to look at horses jumping fences? We’ve got you sorted there, too. Go Eventing.