No podium for Malta equestrians at World Clubs Tournament in France

Malta places seventh in eight-team World Clubs Tournament show jumping contest Generali Open de France

Redeemer Attard, on Toutatis
Redeemer Attard, on Toutatis

Malta finished seventh in the World Clubs Tournament show jumping contest in Lamott Beuvron, ending one before last in the eight-team contest at the Generali Open De France.

Riders for Malta were Redeemer Attard, 30, Corinne Gauci, 23, and new additions Shyanne Cefai, 13 and Faith Camilleri, 14. The team was coached by Malta Equestrian Federation coach Ettore Metrangolo, Grand Prix showjumper who competes under the Maltese flag at international level.

Due to the long distance to France by road, the Maltese team hired its horses in France and had just one day to get to know their equine partners, whilst Italy, Portugal and France – the top three teams – competed on their own horses.

Italy won the contest for the second consecutive time, followed by Portugal and France.

Other clubs were from Belgium, Turkey, Australia, and Madagascar.

Malta was selected to compete by the Federation Francaise d’Equitation (FFE) through a series of three qualifying competitions to select the four riders to join the national team. The Maltese team was part-funded by the Malta Equestrian Federation and EquestriMalta, KEP Italia which provided personalised riding helmets brandished with the Maltese flag, and Air Malta.

On warm-up, Redeemer Attard, on Toutatis, suffered an unfortunate refusal and two time faults, with a final score of six faults and a time of 94.92. Faith Camilleri, riding L’ Adonis, rode a fast clear, with the fastest time on the Maltese team of 73.71 and the fifth fastest time in the competition. Shyanne Cefai, riding Etoile, was also clear with a time of 79.89. Corinne Gauci, riding Asdour, was the last to go and was also clear, with a time of 82.35.

The total score left Malta at zero faults with a total time of 235.95 seconds. The team started in fifth place behind Italy in first, Australia in second, Portugal in third and France in fourth.

The second competitive round was made up of 12 fences and 15 jumping efforts, with one double combination and one triple combination, a highly technical course that proved difficult for Team Malta, ending the round with a number of unfortunate errors.

Attard had a refusal, ending on nine faults and running over the 90-second time allowed with 92.89 seconds. Camilleri finished on 13 faults in 92.15 seconds. Cefai was the only ride to finish within 80.85 but had two fences down, finishing on eight faults. Gauci was clear but went over by just three-hundreths at 90.03 seconds.

The team ended on 18 faults, finishing this round in last place. Portugal and Italy ended on zero faults, France on eight faults, Australia on nine faults, and Turkey, Madagascar and Belgium on 12 faults.

At the final round, a triple combination became a double and final two fences, including the second combination fence, were not included for a total of 10 fences, 11 jumping efforts and one double combination.

Attard had a quick seven fences until a stop on the eighth, suffering elimination. Camilleri’s very good round suffered a refusal at the last fence, Cefai knocked the last fence after a beautifully ridden round, while Gauci had the only clear round in a time of 61.26.

The team finished in seventh place: taly won the competition with zero faults, Portugal was second with four faults, France, third with eight faults, Australia fourth with nine faults. Belgium and Madagascar both finished with 20 faults, but a faster time for Belgium in the third round put them at fifth place and Madagascar in sixth place. Malta was in seventh place with total faults of 26, followed by Turkey with 50 faults.

Show jumping is one of the three Olympic equestrian sports, governed by the Federation Equestre International (FEI) – to which the Malta Equestrian Federation is a member, along with Dressage and Eventing. Jumping is a spectacular mix of courage, control and technical ability that takes horse and rider over 10 to 13 “knockable” obstacles, some of which may be double or treble combinations, with penalties incurred for each obstacle knocked down or refused. As in all equestrian disciplines, men and women compete on equal terms in show jumping in both individual and team events.

Team Malta had a podium finish at the 2022 version of the World Clubs Tournament, finishing in third place behind Italy in first place and Mauritius in second place. The team was made up of Redeemer Attard, Corinne Gauci, Stephanie Schembri and Stephanie Demanuele.