The Netherlands Take The Win While Poland Top The Qualifying Table At Longines EEF Series Drammen

04. Jun 2023 / Category: Press Release

In a dramatic end to the fifth leg of the Longines EEF Series in Drammen, Norway, The Netherlands topped the podium, whilst the Northern Regional qualifier saw six nations battle it out for their Semi-final places. 

The evening’s action most certainly delivered for the crowds of spectators in Norway with Ireland and Netherlands pushing the competition to the wire. As both teams finished on a two-round score of 4 faults, the crowds were treated to some first-class riding in a jump off between Ireland’s front man, Matt Gariggan and the Netherlands’ Eric Ten Carte who tussled it out to decide the top spot.

Having delivered two stunning clear rounds during the class, Matt was the first to enter the arena to jump off against the clock with the 10-year-old gelding Quantum Robin V. Taking exceptionally tight lines and leaving all the poles in place, the combination stopped the clock in a respectable time of 41.14 seconds, laying down the gauntlet for the Dutch anchor man to beat.

Off the back of his double clear also, Eric stormed through the start line on board Incredible, and the 10-year-old gelding rose to the challenge. Mimicking Matt’s lines but with a faster turn of speed, shaving off over 4.5 seconds and stopping the clock in a speedy 36.88 seconds, the pair secured the Netherlands their second podium finish of the Series (having won Leg 2 in Mannheim).

“It feels incredible!” Eric said of his performance to secure team victory – pun duly intended. “I had a really good feeling and I’m really happy with the round.”

Both nations had to deliver in the earlier rounds, of course, to reach this point in the competition. Matt’s first round clear was mirrored by teammates Diarmuid Howley on board Uriga VA and Conor Drain with Imagine, after a shakey start for Nano Healy who had a first round to forget with a score of 24 penalties having read the distance to the water obstacle at 6 wrong, which lead to fence 7 also toppling for them. 

Dutch lead rider Henk Frederiks on Impian D set the tone for his team with a steady clear in round 1, with Tani Joosten on Galdal Me also delivering the goods and Eric bringing up the rear. Fellow rider Mark Martens had an unfortunate pole down at fence 9 – a seemingly innocuous-looking oxer that caused its fair share of havoc throughout the evening.

“It was a solid course, technical and as always, there were more faults in the second round after a lot of clears in the first,” Henk said of the track designed by Norwegian Terje Olsen-Nalum. “We all did a great job and had a clear round each, but thank god we have Eric! He performed so well this weekend and his horse was jumping brilliantly so I had a very safe feeling when he went into the jump off.”

The Dutch team will be turning their attention to Bratislava next week to ensure they earn their semi-final spot, with Henk noting that competition for the team will be fierce: “Holland is a strong country with many good riders, so we try very hard to impress the Chef d’equipe, hopefully, we can compete in a couple more of these as it’s a lovely competition to get to know the nations cup, learn to ride two rounds with the team and I really enjoyed so I hope I can do it a couple more times!”

In the race for semi-final spots, Poland pulled off an incredible first round score of zero from it’s first three riders – Dawid Kubiak on Estoril Fortuna, Tomasz Miskiewicz with Stakkato Lazar and Marek Waclawick riding Kathmandau – meaning that anchor man Adam Grzegorzewski and Issem could rest easy in round one with no need to compete. Sadly Tomasz Marek and Adam didn’t manage to maintain the clean sheet, resulting in two 4-fault rounds being carried forward for a final team score of 8 and eventual third place in the Nations Cup. Being the top eligible nation however, this meant that Poland took the maximum 100 points to add to their 90-point tally from Aalborg, leaving them at the top of the table and securing their ticket to Deauville.

Equalling Poland’s final score of 8 but with the total team time splitting the places were Sweden and Denmark, who both earnt their qualification. Finland and Lithuania added to the points they scored last week in Denmark to seal the final two spots meaning it was a disappointment for the home nation, Norway, who miss out on qualification.

Our attention now turns to Greece for Leg 6 of the Longines EEF Series and the second Southern region qualifier in Athens this Sunday.