Today the first Nations Cup of the season of Division 1 kicked off at Lummen. Italy won with 6 penalties and was the only team with time penalties. Luca Maria Moneta had two times the worst result with Neptune Brecourt. ‘You sure can say my horse didn’t had a good day‘, he said. But his other teammates who rode at Lummen for the first time made sure Italy won. Chef déquipe Hans Horn chose a young team and was very happy with their results. ‘It’s always good to score points at one of the four competitions that count for us‘, Horn said. ‘Our next Nations Cup is at home in Rome. I am not sure about the team yet but there will be some of the guys sitting here in it.’ Horn also told the press he was happy Lorenzo de Luca is riding for Stephex because now he can count on the best horses to ride. Lorenza de Luca agreed to that. Daniele Augusto Da Rios was very happy with his horse For Passion. ‘I got him when he was five years old‘, explains Da Rios. ‘I started riding him and now we’re riding Grand Prix. It can’t get any better. I prefer to work this way. Most horses come to me when they’re still young and then we grow together.’
A very happy Italian team but a very sad French team. The French team made a dream start. Pénélope Leprevost, Kevin Staut and Jerome Hurel rode a clear round so Simon Delestre’s 8 penalties didn’t count. France was in the lead but in the second round it went wrong so they ended on the 4th place with 16 penalties. Belgium and Great Britain shared the second place with 12 penalties. Belgium made a bad start but then fought back. Niels Bruynseels was the only rider who rode double clear and he had a special reason for that. ‘I wanted Dirk Demeersman to wear a tie for the prize giving’, Bruynseels laughs. ‘And Dirk said I’ll wear one if you’ll ride double clear.’ The Belgian chef d’équipe kept his promise but he said he wasn’t really estatic. ‘I would have been really really happy if we had won‘, Demeersman explains. ‘But I aimed for top 3 and we’re second so that’s good. Too bad some things went wrong in the first round.’
Pieter Devos got 12 penalties with Dream of India Greenfield in the first round and needed a wake-up call. ‘You could say my first round wasn’t a dream at all‘, he laughs. ‘But then Dirk motivated me and I’m happy I remained clear in the second round. I don’t want to use it as an excuse but my horse really needed to pee in the first round‘, Devos said. ‘And there were too many people waiting to go to the toilet‘, Demeersman laughed. Olivier Philippaerts was also satisfied with the Nations Cup debut of H&M Armstong van de Kapel and was happy to be riding at the derby arena. ‘The crowd was amazing‘, Philippaerts said. ‘I’ve rode here before but it has never been like this. They really supported us.’ Gregory Wathelet got two times 4 penalties with Conrad de Hus and that’s not really their habit. ‘I’m disappointed,’ Wathelet said. ‘But I should be happy now because the team won.’ The next Nations Cup for the Belgian team is at La Baule. Jos Verlooy, Constant Van Paesschen, Pieter Devos and Gregory Wathelet will compete there.