n a super-tough clash that tested character to the limit, it was the French who came out on top at the fifth leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ 2012 series at Aachen, Germany tonight.
Henk Nooren's team displayed grit and determination as they pipped the much-fancied host country whose deep pool of riding talent has been somewhat diminished in recent days. An extraordinarily poor performance from the anchor partnership of Marco Kutscher and the stallion Cornet Obolensky has left even more questions hanging in the air ahead of Germany's final Olympic selection next Sunday night.
The Irish battled hard to finish a creditable third ahead of Switzerland in fourth and Great Britain in fifth, while the 2011 winners from The Netherlands had to settle for sixth this time around. The Swedish team was reduced to just three after a fall for Peder Fredricson and H&M Arctic Aurora Borealis in the first round, and they slotted into seventh ahead of the Belgians whose big score of 40 faults saw them tail the rest of the field.
It was a long, hard day at the office all round, but when the going got tough, it was the French who proved they had what it takes, and they clinched victory in resolute style. Germany, however, has lost little in defeat as the runner-up result tonight has only served to further strengthen their position at the head of the FEI Nations Cup™ 2012 leaderboard.