Ireland aiming to keep Nations Cup momentum going

  • 31 May 2023, 21:01

The Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping Team of Shane Sweetnam, Conor Swail, David Blake, Andrew Bourns and Daniel Coyle

Michael Blake is confident of another strong showing from The Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping Squad in Sunday’s FEI Longines 5* Nations Cup in Langley, Canada.

Off the back of a first Nations Cup of Rome win in 97 years, Team Manager Blake has named another strong five to go into battle on the other side of the Atlantic as Ireland seek to keep their excellent momentum going.

Ireland impressively won here last year with four of the five squad members named again this time around. David Blake is the only new member, on board the ultra-consistent Claude.

The Ireland team taking part at the CSIO5* FEI Nations Cup is as follows;

  1. Conor Swail with Nadal Hero & DB, owned by Mannon Farm.
  2. Shane Sweetnam with James Kann Cruz (ISH), owned by Gizmo Partners LLC.
  3. Daniel Coyle with Gisborne VDL, owned by Ariel Grange.
  4. David Blake with Claude, owned by Pine Hollow Farm.
  5. Andrew Bourns with Sea Topblue (ISH), owned by Andrew Bourns and OBS Equestrian LLC.

After the exploits in Rome Blake is in bullish form and knows this Irish squad have the firepower – horse and rider – to go back-to-back in Canada.

“To win in Rome for the first time was incredible – it was a superb team performance and while this is a different five, we are bidding to keep the run going. We’ve been thereabouts in every five-star Nations Cup this season and this team know how to get the job done.

“We are the defending champions, having won here last year and the combinations are all in great form,” Blake said.

“Conor’s horse Nadal Hero & DB was brilliant in California when we were second to the United States a couple of weeks ago and James Kann Cruz jumped brilliantly in a big class last week – him and Shane have been fantastic and I’m expecting another excellent performance.

“David and Claude have been so consistent at this level so far this year and he has had this as his plan for a while now while Andrew and Sea Topblue were clear in California and Daniel was runner-up earlier in the season at a big five-star Grand Prix in Wellington and I’m looking forward to him.”

Back in Europe, Ireland will also be represented in Drammen, Norway as Taylor Vard’s squad are in EEF CSIO3* Nations Cup action.

The Ireland team taking part at the CSIO3* EEF Nations Cup is as follows;

  1. Diarmuid Howley with Uriga Va.
  2. Conor Drain with Imagine.
  3. Nano Healy with Oak Grove’s Americana.
  4. Matt Garrigan with Quantum Robin V.
  5. Shane Carey with Context.

“Drammen has been a happy hunting ground for Irish teams – I think we’ve won it more times than any other nation and let’s hope we can do it again,” team manager Taylor Vard said.

“It’s a young team going but they’re a good team – some of them are competing in their first Nations Cup but it’s very exciting and while it looks a hot heat we’re happy with where we are.

“The Danes will obviously be confident at home and we’re chasing a strong USA team who had 0 points last week so it’s a tough task and we’ll embrace it.”


The Irish Show Jumping team is sponsored by The Underwriting Exchange

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



CSF James Kann Cruz (ISH) – 2013 gelding by Kannan (KWPN) out of CSF Telly Cruz (ISH) by Cruising (ISH)[TIH]. Breeder: Patrick Connolly. Owner: Gizmo Partners, LLC. Rider: Shane Sweetnam (IRL).

Sea Topblue (ISH) – 2011 gelding by Chacco Blue (MECKL) out of Sea Top Lady (ISH) by Lux Z (HANN). Breeders: James & John Meade, Co. Clare. Owner: Andrew Bourns and OBS Equestrian LLC. Rider: Andrew Bourns (IRL).