Blake confident in Irish team ahead of CSIO3* EEF Nations Cup

  • 16 May 2023, 17:15

The Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping Squad travel to Peelbergen, The Netherlands on Friday in a bid to secure a semi-final spot in the Longines EEF Nations Cup semi-finals in Deauville next month.

Team Manager Michael Blake has chosen a blend of youth and experience in his high-class squad, with brothers Max and Tom Wachman joining Cian O’Connor, Alexander Butler and Comdt Geoff Curran in the five, who will face stiff competition with some of Europe’s biggest names lining out.

“I’m very confident of an excellent showing from our lads – Max will ride Kilkenny (ISH), who has been there and done it all and I’m very happy with how the combination is going,” Blake said.

“Tom and Rock Of Cashel have struck up an excellent partnership and while they may lack in senior Nations Cup experience, they are an excellent partnership and I trust them both to perform.

“We all know what Cian can do, he’s been a stalwart of Irish teams for years and always rises to the occasion. Tipperary is a new mount but Cian thinks the world of him and he will know his job for sure.

Ireland will be represented in Peelbergen, Netherlands by a squad consisting of Comdt Geoff Curran, Max Wachman, Alexander Butler, Tom Wachman and Cian O’Connor

“Alexander’s horse, Ti Amo B Z is certainly one who I am happy with and he could be a horse for four and five star Nations Cups going forward so I’m confident with him, while Geoff has tonnes of experience and he comes into this full of confidence after Glengarra Wood (ISH) won at Balmoral the other day.”

Friday is the only opportunity for qualification to the regional semi-finals, adding to the importance of the contest, and while Blake is very happy with his squad selection, he noted that plenty of other nations had similar ideas.

“I’m very happy with all our combinations, even though I was quite surprised when I saw what some of the other nations are sending.

“The world number one is there, Henrik von Eckermann, as part of a very strong Swedish team. Portugal have their A team, Belgium, Spain, Holland, Germany – they’re all very strong teams in there too so our team of five-star riders will need to be on their games.

“It’s all to play for as this is the only chance to qualify for the semi-finals so everyone is taking it very seriously and it’s going to be a very competitive cup. But we’ve a strong team and I’m hoping for a great result.”

The Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping Squad is as follows:


CIAN O’CONNOR, riding Tipperary

COMMDT GEOFF CURRAN, riding Glengarra Wood (ISH)

MAX WACHMAN, riding Kilkenny (ISH)

TOM WACHMAN, riding Rock Of Cashel.


Glengarra Wood (AKA LVS Sportsfield) (ISH) – 2010 gelding by Capitalist (HOLST) out of Cavalier Forest (ISH) by Cavalier Clover Lad (ISH). Breeder: Myles Somers, Co. Wexford. Owner: Minister For Defence. Rider: Commandant Geoff Curran (IRL).

Kilkenny (ISH) – 2012 gelding by Cardento (HOLST) out of MHS Pembrook Lady (ISH) by Guidam (SF). Breeder: Ita Brennan, Co. Kilkenny. Owner: Susan Magnier. Rider: Max Wachman (IRL).

The Irish Show Jumping team is sponsored by The Underwriting Exchange

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