This was the first time that the Kiwi showjumpers have had the call-up to the event and they proved they are worthy competitors. Victory went to New Zealand and they were victorious in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup ™ of UAE at the state of the art Al Forsan International Sports Resort.
After 2 rounds of intense competition, it was New Zealand and Ireland that were left tied at the top of the table with 12 points each, forcing a jump-off over 13 fences. Samantha McIntosh was the first rider from New Zealand and once again completed a clear round in 40.16 putting the pressure on Irish rider Shane Breen. Breen and his horse Laith could not match the round of McIntosh and Check-In and therefore New Zealand was crowned the winners.
A huge achievement for the team from New Zealand made up of Daniel Meech on Fine, Richard Gardener on Calisto, Bruce Goodin on Backatorps Danny V, Samantha McIntosh on Check In and Chef d’Equipe Ulrika Goodin. In addition to winning the prize of €64,000, the win also secures them a place in the final in Barcelona later this year.
Speaking at the press conference Samantha McIntosh commented: “I’m not sure where it came from today, I think we are all in shock. It’s been a long journey for us to get here and we all supported each other as a team. In terms of the jump-off, I didn’t really have time to be nervous, I just thought ‘Lets do it’! My horse has also been on the great form which probably helped.”
Finishing the two rounds on 20 points, Italy were close but didn’t quite make it to the jump off. Team UAE finished tied 4th alongside Saudi Arabia who will both automatically qualify for the Barcelona final.