The stands of the François André stadium were full this Friday, the day of the Nations Cup – Ville de La Baule. And the show was up to the expectations of the spectators : there was great sport, suspense and a lot of joy.
First of all, the joy of the Belgian team, which, ten years later, added once again its name to the Nations Cup record after the two rounds of the event. A victory acquired with a lot of skill thanks to Grégory Wathelet, author of a double clear round with Nevados S. Niels Bruynseels with Cristel and Jérôme Guéry with Quel Homme de Hus also contributed with a clear round. In the end, the Belgians had only 8 penalty points.
Then the joy of the French team, which was not very well placed by the draw since it started as number 1, and pla-ced in ambush in the first round with a 3rd place ex aequo with Italy and Switzerland after a clear round by Mégane Moissonnier and Cordial. In the second round, the young rider and her stallion were less successful (8 penalty points) but two of the team’s pillars, Simon Delestre with Cayman Jolly Jumper and Kevin Staut riding Visconti du Telman, completed a clear round. With a total of 12 points, the Blues secured a fine 2nd place and received a real ovation from a public totally committed to their cause.
Second after the first round, Canada finishes the class with 12 points as well, but was a little slower than France, and finally places in 3rd position.
Pierre de Brissac, president of the Jumping international de La Baule
“We saw some great sport today. A sport of excellence, represented naturally by the Belgian winners, but also by all the other teams. La Baule is excellence, it’s sport, it’s the Nations Cup, it’s the Officiel de France and we are once again particularly happy to welcome and congratulate a team as brilliant as Belgium.”
Franck Louvrier, mayor of La Baule
“As you may have seen or felt, this edition is exceptional, exceptional compared to last year obviously when we still had this period of covid. Exceptional also because we had a common wish with Pierre de Brissac, the French Equestrian Federation, the city of La Baule and the regional council of Pays de la Loire, to see this international meeting upgraded and I think that this event is today exceptional by the fact that this edition does not look like any of the previous ones. We are delighted to have invested again this year, especially in the renovation of the stands.”
Grégory Whatelet (Nevados S)
“First of all, before talking about my course, what a place, what an atmosphere, what a public! To enter this arena is just incredible, everybody will agree with me to say it: we don’t often have this atmosphere. So it’s just a feeling that is remarkable. The course designer has put together a very technical, tricky, but really enjoyable course to ride. We didn’t see the horses, I think, going too hard, it’s really what we needed. Afterwards, we have a really solid team, I tried to do my job as an opener. Niels and Wilm did a great job too. Everyone participated, everyone was there when they needed to be, so I think this win is well deserved by the whole team.”
Jérôme Guéry (Quel Homme de Hus)
“I already agree with Gregory about the atmosphere, the competition of La Baule is an important competition, it is something that I prepare and where we all want to shine. It had been ten years since we won the Cup, so we will be able to put Belgium on the board again. We are very, very happy, the atmosphere was very special, here we feel car-ried away by the French public that supports everyone, we saw that they supported us until the end.”
Niels Bruynseels (Cristel)
“I’m lucky because my colleagues have already said everything, they are efficient. In any case it was a great team effort, glad to be here. The last time we won was ten years ago with Gregory. This is the first time I’ve ridden the Na-tions Cup, so it’s not so bad. I made a silly mistake, but I’m happy and I hope to come back again and again. ”
Wilm Vermeir (Iq Van Het Steentje)
“It’s my first time in La Baule, I wasn’t supposed to come and I heard the news three weeks before, I’m very happy to be here and it’s a great experience. Indeed, I know my horse perfectly and the noise is quite complicated for him.”
Peter Weinberg, Belgian chef d’equipe
“I’m German and I’ve been here before with Germany, with whom I’ve already won the Nations Cup. I am happy to win again with the Red Devils. I set up this strategy to put Gregory first, if ever there was a jump-off, because the horse is the fastest and it allowed him to recover. Regarding the course, congratulations to Gregory, it was a beautiful course, which was a bit technical, it required a good intelligent horse, but also a good rider.”
Grégory Bodo, course designer
“The idea behind this course was primarily to preserve the horses that will be in the Rolex Grand Prix – Ville de La Baule on Sunday and to offer a Cup that combined technique and reflection for the rider. This is very important for me. We saw a course today that was not excessive in the odds and heights, but more based on something delicate.”