The world’s best showjumpers are in Barcelona this week, for the 108th FEI Nations Cup Final (28 September – 1 October) – and you can catch the action on H&C.
A total of 15 nations will line up for today’s qualifying competition (28 September), however only eight nations will make the cut for Saturday night’s deciding competition.
This is the order for the first round:
1. New Zealand; 2. Netherlands; 3. Switzerland; 4. UAE; 5. Great Britain; 6. Belgium; 7. Ireland; 8. USA; 9. Italy; 10. Sweden; 11. France; 12. Spain; 13. Brazil; 14. Germany; 15. Canada.
Britain was relegated last year to Europe Division 2, but have fought their way to second place in the league, to claim a place in the Final – and move back up into Division 1.
The team in Barcelona comprises: Scott Brash (Ursula XII), Ben Maher (Quilata), William Whitaker (Utamaro d’Ecaussines) and Guy Williams (Rouge de Ravel). Can this formidable quartet turn things around and win the 2017 title?
Ireland finished near the bottom of Europe Division 1, but are riding high following their team gold at the European Championships, four weeks ago.
Three out of four of the Gothenburg dream team are jumping in the Final: Denis Lynch (All Star 5), Shane Sweetnam (Chaqui Z) and Betram Allen, who has swapped Hector van d’Abdijhoeve for Molly Malone.
Cian O’Connor’s gold-medal winning partner Good Luck wasn’t quite right in the warm up class and may have pulled something in his shoulder, so they have been replaced by Shane Breen and Laith.
Others to watch include the German defending champions, the French team – which features three of the gold-medal team from the Rio Olympics – and the Netherlands, who finished at the top of Europe Division 1.
One of the biggest surprises of the 2017 season has been the Italians, who re-emerged as a force to be reckoned with. They won their home leg of the Nations Cup series in Rome for the first time in 32 years and have not looked back.
Team USA will also be gunning for a win, and are fielding a star-studded side that includes World Cup 2017 champion McLain Ward and multiple medallists Beezie Madden and Laura Kraut.
Don’t miss the the FEI Nations Cup 2017: Final when it premieres on Sky 253 on 5 October at 9pm. You can also watch online via H&C Play or Amazon Video.