Longines EEF Series Newsroom

Mexico take the win while central teams confirm their semi-final places!
June 14, 2024

Report: Christa Dillon
Images: Equifo

The final Longines Series EEF Region Central Qualifier got underway this afternoon at the X-Bionic Sphere venue, culminating in a nail-biting three way jump off between host nation Slovakia, Italy and Mexico. Mexico took the win, with Slovakia finishing in second place and Italy coming home in third.

Today’s competition was also the last of the eight Longines EEF Series regional qualifiers to take place. The top teams from Region Central and Region South will go forward to their Semi Final in Budapest in July. With just Italy, Greece and Ukraine qualifying from Region South, this meant that there were seven Region Central semi-final slots up for grabs.

Round two got underway with Italy, Slovakia, Denmark and Mexico tied for first place on a score of zero. Switzerland and Germany sat in joint second place with four penalties apiece, with Hungary just behind them on five penalties. The Netherlands, Slovenia and Austria rounded out the top ten. However, the order changed and changed again as the fast paced and exciting contest unfolded.

Mexican Nicolas Pizarro jumped a lovely clear first round aboard Chacco’s Airman PS, but provided the discard score in the second round when faulting at both parts of the double at 11A and B. Team mate Ernesto Canseco posted two eye catching clear rounds riding the 12 year old mare Haraminka P, as did Jose Antonio Chedraui Eguia with his 11 year old gelding Con-Cor. Mexican third line rider Jose Antonio Chedraui Eguia and the 18 year old gelding Mighty Mouse were the discard score in round one, chipping out the back rail at fence 5 and faulting again at the second part of the double. They recovered brilliantly, posting a clear second round and ensuring Mexico remained in contention.

Host nation Slovakia were keen to perform well in front of their home crowd, and they did just that. Dominika Gaalova opened the account with a super clear aboard the 9 year old stallion, Kriek. They picked up four penalties in the second round, frustratingly tapping out the back rail of the final fence. David Horvath provided the discard score in the first round when knocking the final part of the double at fence 11B and picking up two time faults, but he jumped a beautiful clear second round to keep the pressure on Mexico and Italy. Local hero Bronislav Chudyba could do no wrong, posting two outstanding clear rounds with his exceptional 10 year old stallion, Statis Conti. Slovakian anchorman Radovan Sillo then followed up with a masterclass of riding aboard the 13 year old gelding Quadrosson Ask, also finishing fault free.

The Italian team were keen to build on their brilliant victory at the Region South qualifier in Athens earlier in June. Omar Bonomelli provided the discard score in round one, with team mates Angelica Canonici, Riccardo Pisani and Giacomo Bassi all jumping clear. In round two, Bonomelli made amends aboard Chippendel De La Tour, whilst Pisani picked up four penalties when his horse Oliver Van’t Heike faulted at fence three. Angelica Canonici remained fault free with Vertigo Z, as did Giacomo Bassi with the impressive and consistent stallion, Cape Cod.

A three way jump off to decide the top placings got underway, with Mexican Ernesto Canseco posting what proved to be an unbeatable and fast clear in a time of 35.47 seconds. Bronislav Chudyba finished less than a second behind, with a clear round in 36.22 seconds. Italian rider Giacomo Bassi was hot on their heels, but he picked up four penalties, leaving Italy in third place overall.

Mexican Chef D’Equipe and team rider Ernesto Canseco said; “I am really excited!  The venue is great, and Mexico were amazing. There was no room for a mistake.”

Jose Antonio Chedraui Prom was jumping on the Mexican team with his father Jose Antonio Chedraui Eguia, making the afternoon even more special for him. He said; “This has been an incredible venue, and an incredible show. It was a tough Nations Cup with twelve teams, and a very tough course. We are very happy with the win.”

His father added; “A long time ago, the first of the new era of Nations Cup competitions was won here (in Samorin) by Mexico, so coming back here with my son, and with Nicolas and Ernesto, is just amazing.”

Nicolas Pizarro commented; “For me, this is a very special Nations Cup. Jumping with the Chedraui family who have been so close to me throughout my career was something really special. Winning in this atmosphere, with amazing course building and such very nice sport, and then having three teams for the jump off-I must congratulate the organisers. We have to thank Ernesto for making it possible to have the invitation here, and today we have had a magic day.”

Course builders Andrea Colombo (ITA), Karadi Laszlo (HUN) and Giovanni Bussi (ITA) made full use of the beautiful grass arena and the undulating ground, with long related lines and sharp roll-backs testing the focus and stamina of both horse and rider. The double at fence 11 AB proved influential, as did the final Longines EEF Series oxer. The water jump at fence 4 also caused drama, with two Turkish riders taking an unfortunate tumble resulting in team elimination.

Germany finished in fourth place, and they were followed by Hungary in fifth. The Hungarian team fought hard to overcome their disappointing result earlier in the series at Mannheim, but sadly their journey in the Series comes to an end. The Netherlands took sixth place, and they were followed by Austria, Switzerland, Denmark and Czech Republic to complete the top ten placings.

The ten Region South and Region Central teams who will now progress to the Longines EEF Series semi final in Budapest are Italy, Greece, Ukraine, Slovakia, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic and Slovenia.