Another podium finish for Pessoa’s Ireland as Italy claim home win in Rome Nations Cup
- 26 May 2017, 17:33
An excellent second round comeback has seen the Irish Show Jumping team, sponsored by Devenish and The Underwriting Exchange, take their second Super League Nations Cup podium finish in-a-row, with a third place finish today (Friday) at Rome in Italy.
Ireland had finished third in their first Division 1 points-scoring outing in the French Nations Cup in La Baule and they repeated that result in Rome where the home fans saw Italy win at the historic Piazza Di Siena for the first time in 32 years.
Both Paul Kennedy with Jane Kennedy’s Irish Sport Horse Cartown Danger Mouse and Shane Breen riding Golden Hawk, finished the first round course with four faults apiece. Mark McAuley lowered one fence and added a time fault with Utchan De Belheme to leave Rodrigo Pessoa’s Irish team in joint fifth place at the halfway stage on 13 faults.
Shane Sweetnam gave Ireland the best possible start to the second round with a clear round aboard the Spy Coast Farm-owned Chaqui Z. Mark McAuley lowered just a single fence with Jocelyn Berthelot’s Utchan De Belheme, as Ireland began to climb the leaderboard. Tipperary’s Shane Breen then faced a crucial round when last to go with the Prince Sultan & Breen Equestrian-owned Golden Hawk. One fence down would have dropped Ireland down to seventh. However Breen and Golden Hawk repeated the form they showed in La Baule (where they jumped double clear) and produced a foot perfect clear in Rome to leave Ireland on a 17 fault total.
Italy won their home Nations Cup for the first time in 32 years after they finished with nine faults. Netherlands took runner-up spot on 13 faults with Spain sharing third place with Ireland. League leaders France tied for fifth place with Sweden, while Switzerland finished seventh and Canada took eighth place.
Irish Show Jumping Team Manager Rodrigo Pessoa said:
“We made a very good recovery in the second round, I am pleased with the result. We scored good points with a mixed team – some younger riders who never jumped at this level before his year. I had a talk with the guys at the halfway stage and told them we needed to keep going and fight for points. They all gave us good rounds and were very positive.
“It was a good result considering France, Netherlands and Italy all had their best teams here, We showed a lot of character in the second round to move up the leader board. I want to give a special mention of congratulations to the Italian team on a great win on their home soil. The focus for us now turns to Rotterdam where we hope to have a very strong team,” he said.
Ireland now lie in fifth place overall on the FEI Nations Cup league table with 155 points. However three of the teams above Ireland have completed three of their points-scoring outings while Ireland have only jumped in two. France top the standings ahead of Sweden in second, Spain are in third with Italy fourth just ahead of Ireland.
Ireland’s next points-scoring round of the FEI Super League Nations Cup series will be at Rotterdam on June 23rd, followed by Falsterbo (July 14th), Hickstead (July 28th), and Ireland’s home Nations Cup at the RDS in Dublin on August 11th, where teams will compete for the Aga Khan trophy.
Cartown Danger Mouse (ISH) – 2006 mare by Harlequin du Carel (SF) out of Missy Boo (ISH). Breeder: Paul G Kennedy, Co. Limerick. Owner: Jane Kennedy. Rider: Paul Kennedy (IRL)