The British athletes at this week’s Nations Cup competition are William Funnell with Billy Buckingham, Sam Hutton with Happydam, Harriet Nuttall with A Touch Imperious, Anna Power with Blazer B, and Michael Whitaker with JB’s Hot Stuff.
For Ireland, led by manager Rodrigo Pessoa, the riders include Billy Twomey with Ardcolum Duke and Mark McAuley with Jasco V Bisschop. They are joined by Daniel Coyle and Bertram Allen. Four other nations are eligible for points: host nation Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. Swedish neighbours Denmark and Norway are participating as visitors.
In total, seven countries (with hosts Spain qualifying automatically if not otherwise) will make it out of the elite Division to the global Final. And with two stages still to come for the Division this season after Falsterbo – in Hickstead and Dublin – Belgium currently leads the standings with 360 points, ahead of Switzerland with 340 and Germany with 315. Ireland is currently eighth and Great Britain ninth.
The start list for this year’s CSIO5*, which dates back in various incarnations nearly a century, includes many stars of international Jumping, including Swiss Olympic champion Steve Guerdat, the famous German couple Markus and Meredith Beerbaum, the talented Irishman Allen, and Dutchmen Jur Vrieling and Maikel van der Vleuten. Flying the Union Jack, veteran Michael Whitaker and the winner of this year’s Hickstead Derby, William Funnell, will also be looking for honours in the Individual category. Indeed, this major competition will feature riders from four continents, with a very strong fifteen-person home contingent. Representing Sweden’s ‘Three Crowns’ will be favourites such as Olympic and European medallist Peder Fredricson, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, Henrik von Eckermann, Douglas Lindelow, Malin Baryard-Johnsson and Evelina Tovek.
Other attractions for visitors in this part of Sweden include Falsterbo’s famous beaches.