More than Lady Luck for USA Win

by Louise Parks

Team USA secured a definitive victory in the eighth and last leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 Europe Division 1 League in Dublin (IRL) Friday. The American ladies produced the only zero score in a hard-fought competition.

On a level playing field with the Irish at the halfway stage they stood firm while their hosts lost their grip to drop to fifth behind Spain. In the closing stages the Netherlands and France threw down a challenge, and American anchor Laura Kraut was under pressure as the last to go with Confu. But the double-Olympian didn’t crumble, posting the second U.S. double-clear of the competition to seal it ahead of the runners-up from France, while the Dutch slotted into third place.

This was the first all-female team triumph in the 91-year history of Nations Cup Jumping for the world-famous Aga Khan Cup in Dublin.

“We said at the beginning of the year this was one of the shows we are bringing our “A” team to…it’s our view that the Aga Khan is the greatest trophy in our sport. And more than that there are many ways to win a Nations Cup, sometimes you get lucky, but today in my view there was no luck. These four riders did an unbelievable job!”

Robert Ridland (Chef d’Equipe Team USA)

The time-allowed of 80 seconds proved difficult for many over Irish course-builder Tom Holden’s track. A speedy turn to the final oxer was often costly. Beezie Madden’s mistake with her new ride Darry Lou was the American drop score in round one, but the pair got it right in round two after pathfinders Lauren Hough and the brilliant mare Ohlala produced their second clear of the day. Rising talent Lillie Keenan made her only mistake at the first element of the penultimate double with Super Sox.

Kraut clinched it with a crisp, clear run to leave a five-fault margin between the winning U.S. team and the French in second. The points earned by the third-placed Dutch, whose final tally was just seven faults, saw them overtake Italy at the top of the Europe Division 1 leaderboard at the end of the eight-leg series.

Click play above to watch the winning round.