Swiss team is the first to start the Friday afternoon's Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup. Shortly after Puis Schwizer's sale of horses just the day before the 18th CSIO Schweiz opening, the hosts are looking forward to score in the first half.
After the 2nd place in Nations Cup opening at CSIO La Baule, the expectations for the team with less-experienced horses in Gründenmoos have lowered. Germany and Netherlands, World and European champions, have recently won two team competitions in Switzerland in a row and are in their best shape to contend for the upcoming EUR 200'000 team competition.
Germany, Holland, Ireland and Switzerland teams can gain qualifying points for the Barcelona final. Other four countries - United Kingdom (the current Olympic champions), France, Belgium and Italy - are competing for the prize money.
Puis Schwizer is the first in Switzerland's starting order, despite the recent sales of Powerplay and Verdi to Canada. He shall be riding Picsou du Chêne that secured the 5th place in Rome's GP. Paul Estermann is starting second and shall be riding Eclipse Castlefield. This Irish horse is the only to have participated in the London Olympics. The third to go is Janika Sprunger riding Palloubet d'Halong with a recent double clear rounds in the Nations Cup in La Baule. Finally Steve Guerdat shall enter the competition on Nasa, same as he did in La Baule.
The order to go is therefore 1. Switzerland (Pius Schwizer / Picsou du Chêne, Paul Estermann / Castlefield Eclipse, Janika Sprunger / Palloubet d'Halong, Steve Guerdat / Nasa), 2. Germany, 3. Holland (last year's winner), 4. France, 5. Great Britain, 6. Belgium, 7. Ireland, 8. Italy.
The intermediate result in the FEI Nations Cup after 2 out of 8 competitions is as follows:
France (2 starts) 157.67
Great Britain (2 starts) 143.67
Ukraine (1 start) 100
Switzerland (1 start) 90
Ireland (1 start) 75.67
Spain (1 start) 64
Germany and Holland (0 starts)