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Samsung Super League 2004 Results: The Color Looks Very Much Like Orange

by Sarah Evers | Jun 15, 2004, 12:00 AM

THE COLOUR LOOKS VERY MUCH LIKE ORANGE…… Dutch pride is at an all-time high after two consecutive victories in the Samsung Super League 2004, and the team at the top of the leaderboard can expect huge support when they line out on their home ground in Rotterdam next Friday. A full three points ahead of Germany in second position, The Netherlands could take a real grip on pole position if they can capitalise with another good result, and the organisers at Rotterdam are encouraging the home fans with an offer of 25% off the entrance fee if they attend the show dressed in orange! On top of that there is a website competition in which readers can predict the finishing position of the Dutch squad next Friday and the winners here will be put into a draw for a super new Samsung telephone. It has already attracted huge interest…. Based on last year’s performance the home side should finish in No. 1 spot. Rotterdam provided The Netherlands with its only victory of the 2003 Samsung Super League series in a day that was full of surprises and, on the crest of the wave right now, a repeat looks very much on the cards. Chef d’Equipe Bert Romp said after last Sunday’s win in the third leg of the series in Lucerne that he believed the Dutch were benefiting from the lessons learned from the first series in which his team’s results were extremely mixed. Certainly there is a new focus and confidence about both their horses and riders who are competing with much greater conviction. They may need to maintain that conviction this week as second-placed Germany sends out another crack squad, with Chef d’Equipe Kurt Gravemeier choosing four riders from his selection of Lars Nieberg, Markus Beerbaum, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Pia-Luise Aufrecht and Daniel Deusser before Thursday afternoon’s draw for the starting positions. The French, currently placed third, are not holding back either. After a superb run in the FEI World Cup series Eugenie Angot has earned her place on her national squad with the exciting Cigale du Tallis and will be hoping to make the cut when Jean-Maurice Bonneau picks his four from the French group which also includes Hubert Bourdy, Jean-Marc Nicolas, Edouard Couperie and Laurent Goffinet. The French finished joint-second last Sunday along with the Germans and Belgians and Belgian Chef, Lucien Somers, should have been pleased with that result. Third in the opening round at La Baule, Belgium finished last in Rome but double-clears from both Dirk Dimeersman with Clinton and Stanny van Paesschen riding O de Pomme kept them well in the game at Lucerne and, lying fifth on the leaderboard at present, they could be a force to be reckoned with this season. Demeersman is back on duty in Rotterdam along with Jos Lansink, Ludo Philippaerts, Marc van Djick and Philippe Le Jeune. The British are in fourth at this stage, and have been showing a remarkable consistency. They may have picked up 17 faults last time out but there were no disasters on the day and it seems they just need luck to come their way in order to get the result they really deserve for a change. The Whitaker family are out in force in Rotterdam as John lines out alongside his son Robert and brother Michael while Nick Skelton and Robert Smith complete the British profile. The Americans were one place ahead of the British when fifth in the Lucerne line-up thanks to one less fault on the board and although they are lying sixth of the eight competing nations on the league leaderboard at present they appear more than capable of improving on that. With a small pool of riders to choose from they are under greater pressure than most and Chef d’Equipe, Katie Monahan, has no decision-making to do as she has just four riders at her disposal this time around – Judy Garofalo, Kimberly Frey, Laura Kraut and Peter Wylde. The Italians are playing dangerously once again, lying seventh with just six points to their credit coming up to the halfway stage of the series. They were bottom of the pile in Lucerne but faults were spread more evenly and first-round clears from both Giorgio Nuti with Ninja and Bruno Chimirri with Landknecht will have encouraged team manager Duccio Bartalucci. Irish Chef d’Equipe Tommy Wade however has a nightmare on his hands. He, along with the Irish selectors, fired show jumping legend Eddie Macken from his new job as Olympic Team Trainer last Wednesday and the majority of the top Irish riders have responded by seeking their resignations while the decision has caused uproar in the press. Macken has been based in Vancouver, Canada for the last three years but was brought in at the request of some, but not all, of the riders to assist ahead of Athens. Wade had worked alongside Gerry Mullins over the previous four hugely successful years and there was a major controversy over the decision to replace Mullins with Macken. Following three heavy defeats for the Irish squad in the 2004 Samsung Super League series, Macken has been dismissed and riders have been forced into taking sides in a row which has split the Irish show jumping world right down the centre at this worst possible time for those preparing to realise their Olympic dream. In a further move last Saturday Peter Charles announced that some of the Olympic riders will be hiring Macken as their personal trainer so both Macken and Wade may be on hand in Holland this week when Billy Twomey, Kevin Babington, Marion Hughes, Lt Shane Carey and Cian O’Connor fly the Irish flag. In the current climate it is difficult to visualise a sudden recovery, but the Irish are notoriously strong when the chips are down and, in the face of adversity, maybe they could pull off something special this time out. If they don’t manage to do that then the Swiss, currently leading the ordinary Samsung Nations Cup series ahead of Sweden, will be only too happy to replace them in the Super League next season. In a very close battle Ireland just pipped Switzerland for Super League status in the opening season so it would be sweet revenge if the tables were to be turned and there will be considerable Swiss interest in Irish fortunes over the next few legs of the series. ********************* For all information about the next leg of the Samsung Super League in Rotterdam on Friday 18 June you should contact Press Officer Anita Lussenberg,