Blake goes for experience in St Gallen League of Nations

  • 30 May 2024, 18:59

Mark McAuley, who was a winner on the opening day at St Gallen, on a warm-up round with Irish Sport Horse GRS Lady Amaro, which he rides in the Longines League of Nations for the Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping team tomorrow (Sportfot)

Allen, McAuley, Lynch and O’Connor bid to keep League of Nations momentum going

Michael Blake has named an experienced group of riders as the Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping team prepares to continue their stellar run in the Longines League of Nations at St Gallen tomorrow.

Horse Sport Ireland’s High Performance Director of Show Jumping is keen to continue Ireland’s pole position in the standings, after they followed an opening leg runner-up finish in Abu Dhabi with a stunning triumph in Ocala, Florida last March.

To that end, Blake has plumped for Bertram Allen to act as pathfinder on the 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse Pacino Amiro, who was bred in Donegal by Simon Scott and is owned by Aiden McGrory.

Next into the ring will be Louth native, Mark McAuley another Irish Sport Horse, GRS Lady Amaro, an 11-year-old mare bred in Wexford by Denis Hickey and owned by Snc McAuley.

Tipperary pilot, Denis Lynch will be on board the 15-year-old Mexico City five-star Global Champions Tour winner Brooklyn Heights, who is owned by Molly Ohrstrom and Meath-based Kildare man, Cian O’Connor continues in his traditional anchor position, this time steering the 10-year-old talent Fermoy, which he owns in partnership with Sarah and Keira Stoute.

“I wanted to give an opportunity to Denis and Mark, who jumped in Abu Dhabi, while Bertram was supposed to jump in Ocala but he got injured so this is his chance to shine,” said Blake after announcing his selection.

“We’d like to keep the momentum going in the Longines League of Nations and ensure we are in a good spot going into the final qualifying leg in Rotterdam next month.

“Also, we are five from five in terms of podiums for Nations Cup this year. We’ve hit the target every time so far. That doesn’t mean we’ll hit it tomorrow but we’re here to do the best we can to keep that run going.

“The ground is a little bit tricky at the moment. It’s been raining a lot and while we might handle it as good as anyone, it will be a factor I believe.

“It is very competitive, as you would expect at this level. We had a very strong team in Rome last week, which missed out on winning only due to the misfortune of a rub of a pole but performed very well to finish second.

“Germany and Switzerland are particularly strong but you could see any one of at least six times winning it. But hopefully, we will give a good account of ourselves and be in there at the business end.”

Ireland will be last of the 10 competing teams into the ring by virtue of leading the Longines League of Nations standings.

Round 1 begins at 4pm local time (3pm Irish time), with Round 2 scheduled to start at 6.20pm local time (5.20pm Irish time).

Amhrán na bhFiann rang out round St Gallen earlier in the day thanks to McAuley and his nine-year-old gelding Fury Nocturne.

The Irish combination proved best of a field of 51 in the two-phase 1.45m Prix Thommen Recycling. The initial power phase proved straightforward, with 25 going clear and indeed there were 12 double clears, but Fury Nocturne had too much speed for his rivals.

In the end, they were pretty convincing winners, stopping the clock on 32.42 seconds, more than a second clear of runner-up Abdulrahman Alrajhi (KSA) on Babalou, and home representatives, Adrian Schmid, steering Crisu 19.

Later on, Lynch made the jump-off for the 1.50m Grand Prix qualifier and was electric around the venue, clocking the fastest time but one jumping error by Vistogrand proved costly and they had to settle for fourth.


Pacino Amiro (ISH) – 2012 gelding by Pacino (BWP) out of Carnone Dancing Queen (ISH) by NC Amiro (AES). Breeder: Simon Scott, Co. Donegal. Owner: Aiden McGrory. Rider: Bertram Allen (IRL).

GRS Lady Amaro (ISH) – 2013 mare by Amaretto Darco (BWP) out of Legal Lady (TB) by Over The River (TB). Breeder: Denis Hickey, Co. Wexford. Owner: S.n.c McAuley. Rider: Mark McAuley (IRL).