Friday, Jun. 7, 2024

It All Comes Down To Simpson In Rome

The United States moves to the top of the Samsung Super League leaderboard after a hair-raising jump-off.

The U.S. team has gotten a good start in the Samsung Super League, tying for second at the first event, La Baule (France), so they entered the Super League Nations Cup at the Rome CSIO (Italy) on May 22-25 quite confident.

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The United States moves to the top of the Samsung Super League leaderboard after a hair-raising jump-off.

The U.S. team has gotten a good start in the Samsung Super League, tying for second at the first event, La Baule (France), so they entered the Super League Nations Cup at the Rome CSIO (Italy) on May 22-25 quite confident.

The team included Anne Kursinski and Roxana 112 as the lead-off pair, Will Simpson with El Campeon’s Carlsson vom Dach as anchor, Nicole Shahinian-Simpson on SRF Dragonfly, and newcomer Charlie Jayne—a firecracker on the impossibly flexible Urbanus.

They gave the winning British team quite a run for their money, forcing a jump-off to decide first place after Great Britain and the United States were tied for first with 8 faults after the two rounds.

John Whitaker and Simpson, as the anchor riders, each jumped two clear rounds to bring their teams to a tie.

Chef d’equipe George Morris chose Simpson and the speedy Carlsson vom Dach to represent the U.S. team in the jump-off. They sped around the track, but Carlsson kicked out at the top rail of a liverpool, and they finished with 4 faults in 34.75 seconds. All Whitaker had to do for Britain to win was jump clear, which he did handily but slowly, pumping his fist with satisfaction. He said that Peppermill isn’t the fastest horse, but that he’s been jumping really well and feeling great, so he thought he would risk it. It paid off as a win for the British team—their second consecutive in Rome.

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Course designer Marco Cortinovis built an intellectual course for the Nations Cup with style and panache, arranging shrubbery, flowers, lakes and Roman statues to theatrical effect. A large lake to the left of the water jump had several horses doing a doubletake, including Roxana, for her only first-round fault with Kursinski. The slight hesitation was all it took for a hoof in the water.

Jayne followed up Kursinki’s effort with a clean round aboard Urbanus. Shahinian-Simpson and Dragonfly took a rail down, but Simpson swept up with a clean first round, leaving the United States in a three-way tie with Great Britain and Ireland for first after Round 1.

The German team was the surprise trailer in Round 1, ending up with 12 faults after each team member had
a rail.

The second round started off shakily as Kursinski and Roxana toppled two rails. Jayne followed up with his only 4 faults of the day, but Britain had a 4 and clear, so the pressure was on.

Ireland had fallen back with 8 faults by Edward Doyle and 8 surprise faults for the second time in Round 2 by crack rider Jessica Kürten, who had to substitute a new horse—Galopin du Biolay—at the last minute. Shahinian-Simpson came out third and went clear, tying the score with Britain after Robert Smith faulted twice with the randy but young Ronaldo. The Germans were also 4 and clear at this point, but couldn’t make up for their first-round gaffs, so it was down to the United States and Great Britain. In the sign of a good course, there were faults all over the field. Only four riders in total managed a double clear: Simpson, Italy’s Emilio Bicocchi on Jeckerson Kapitol D’Argonne, and two from Great Britain—Tim Stockdale on Fresh Direct Corlato and Whitaker on Peppermill.

With the second place, the United States took over the lead in the Super League Standings.

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