Blake announces Nations Cup team for Kronenberg

  • 16 May 2024, 20:20

Jessica Burke and the Liam Nicholas owned-and-bred Irish Sport Horse Express Trend have been selected on the Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping team to contest the Longines EEF Nations Cup in Kronenberg (Sportfot)

Quartet ready to rock in Longines EEF qualifier

Michael Blake has named his Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping team to contest the three-star Longines EEF Nations Cup in Kronenberg, The Netherlands tomorrow.

Horse Sport Ireland’s Show Jumping High Performance Director has gone with a quartet of in-form riders with buckets of experience to contest the €65,000 Peelbergen event and is optimistic of a good show despite some stellar opposition with qualification for next month’s semi-finals up for grabs.

There is a distinct Connacht hue to the selection, with Sligo native, Richard Howley the pathfinder, followed by Galwegian, Jessica Burke and Mayo man, Michael G Duffy. The team is completed by Derry’s Daniel Coyle, who rides the Ariel Grange-owned grey Incredible.

Zodiak du Buisson Z, Express Trend and Clitschko 17 are the mounts of Howley, Burke and Duffy respectively. Zodiak du Buisson Z is owned by Hk Horses, while Liam Nicholas is the owner/breeder of Irish Sport Horse Express Trend and Carl Hanley Sporthorses, Niall Talbot and Duffy are the shareholders in Clitschko 17.

“I’m picking a very experienced and strong team,” said Blake this evening. “All the riders have jumped five-star Cups for us so that counts for a lot.

“Richard Howley was double clear in Abu Dhabi (on Equine America Consulent de Prelet Z), when we finished runners-up, and he won two classes on Zodiak there as well.

“Jessica is another very experienced rider, who recently won a four-star class on Express Trend in Vejer De La Frontera.

“Third in will be Michael G Duffy on Clitschko 17, who were part of the team that won in Rome for the first time ever last year.

“Last in will be Daniel Coyle on Incredible, who has been jumping well throughout the American circuit and won the World Cup at Live Oak in March.”

A total of 13 nations will be participating and Ireland have been drawn fourth, with Norway, Great Britain and Spain blazing a trail beforehand.

Hosts The Netherlands, USA and France will be the final three teams into the ring, while the field is completed by selections representing Australia, Sweden, Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal and Canada.

“There are some strong teams here so it will be very competitive,” Blake acknowledged. “With five teams to qualify out of the group, we have this show and the show in Luxembourg in three weeks’ time to get enough points to make the semi-finals and we will be hoping for a good result to help us achieve that.”

The Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping team is as follows:

RICHARD HOWLEY, riding Zodiak du Buisson Z

JESSICA BURKE, riding Express Trend (ISH)

MCHAEL G DUFFY, riding Clitschko 17

DANIEL COYLE, riding Incredible


The Irish Show Jumping team is sponsored by The Underwriting Exchange

Charles Ancona – Official athlete clothing supplier to HSI’s Senior Olympic programmes


Express Trend (ISH) – 2010 gelding by Future Trend (OLD) out of Condios Express (ISH) by Condios (HOLST). Breeder and owner: Liam Nicholas. Rider: Jessica Burke (IRL).