Britain holds off Germany to retain title

Competing in the CCI ** class at the Houghton International is Alex Postolowsky on Wutella. Picture:

Competing in the CCI ** class at the Houghton International is Alex Postolowsky on Wutella. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Great Britain retained its title as winner of the British leg of the FEI Nations Cup at Houghton International by a margin of 14 penalties.

Current series leader Germany was the runner-up nation, finishing just ahead of Australia.

Philip Surl, manager of the Nations Cup squad via his role as assistant to Team GBR's eventing performance manager Yogi Breisner, was delighted with the performance of his team, Izzy Taylor, Emily Llewellyn, Francis Whittington and Gemma Tattersall.

'The team came here off the back of a perceived 'not great' result in Fontainebleau and all performed very well. When Gemma set out across-country she knew she had to make the time to guarantee victory, and she did the job, coming home bang on the optimum,' said Surl.

Germany was down to three riders before the final phase when Benjamin Winter's Wild Thing Z was withdrawn after the show jumping.

Undeterred they posted three cross-country clears to edge ahead of Australia.

However, it was German Gold medallist, Ingrid Klimke, who clinched individual victory in the CICO***.

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Riding Tabasco TSF the pair achieved 37.8 in the dressage and made only one error in the showjumping to add four penalties to their final score.

As well as competing at top level in eventing, Ingrid now heads off to the German National Dressage Championships followed by the Luhmuhlen 4* event, where she will be taking Tabasco.

Gemma Tattersall was the best of the Brits in the CICO***, securing second place, while in the CCI** the French outsider Karim Laghouag was crowned victor.

Riding the stallion Entebbe De Hus, he climbed his way up the leaderboard after being eleventh after the dressage. Karim, who is based near Paris, said: 'He is a very good horse with a brilliant mind. He is good in all three phases but I was slightly concerned about the double of corners at fence 17 and 18 on the cross country.'

But Entebbe De Hus wasn't fazed and sailed round clear and inside the time. Karim added: 'It was a very technical course for a 2* but he tackled it very well and now we aim for Boekelo at the end of the year.' Much loved British rider William Fox-Pitt settled for second while up and coming star Alex Liddle took third. With the top ten so close, riders couldn't afford to make a mistake. Overnight leader Eliza Stoddart had a disappointing showjumping round and after rolling one pole she dropped to fourth.

Norfolk born Kelly Aldous held a strong position throughout the event and eventually came 21st on High Garth High Flyer on a final score of 57.3.

Warendorf-based German rising star Julia Krajewski led from pillar to post to claim the CCI* title riding the seven-year-old Samourai du Thot; a title she won on her only previous visit to Houghton International back in 2010. The pair added just 0.8 cross-country time penalties to their leading dressage score to deny Great Britain's James Somerville victory on board his parents aptly named Talent.

'I knew we could do it if we had a good weekend,' said Julia of the horse she has produced from a four-year-old.

The selectors seeking a talented side to represent Great Britain at the Junior Europeans this summer had a feast of brilliant young riders to watch in the CCI*J. A hot favourite for team selection will be Sophie Beaty, winner of the class on Stanly who jumped an immaculate showjumping round to take the top spot from overnight leader Genevieve Clarke.

Alex Barrelet, from Cambridgeshire, was also amongst those who hoped to impress the selectors. On Welcome Pearmain she climbed from 23rd to eventual 10th. She stormed round the cross-country despite suffering a minor technical difficulty on her way round, 'I misread my watch! I thought I was 20 seconds down on the time but as it turns out I was 20 seconds up, so in the end I came home with 30 seconds to spare.'