Ireland dominate to win fifth Wellington CSIO4* Nations Cup

  • 3 March 2024, 09:58

Michael Blake’s team of Darragh Kenny, David O’Brien, Shane Sweetnam and Cian O’Connor are presented the CSIO4* Nations Cup trophy in Wellington Pic: Sportfot

The Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping team won a fifth CSIO4* Wellington International Nations Cup after an utterly dominant performance at the Florida venue overnight.

Michael Blake’s team of Darragh Kenny on Eddy Blue, David O’Brien on El Balou Old, Shane Sweetnam on RR Combella and Cian O’Connor on Fancy De Kergane finished on a total of 10 faults to win with plenty in hand.

Clear first rounds from Kenny, O’Brien on his Nations Cup debut, and O’Connor meant that Ireland led at the halfway point on a zero score.

A second round pole down for Kenny and Sweetnam, added to just two time faults for O’Brien, saw Ireland win without O’Connor needing to jump for a second time, such was their dominance.

Canada finished in the runner-up position on 20 faults and hosts USA completed the podium with a final score of 24.

Horse Sport Ireland Show Jumping High Performance Director Michael Blake said: “I’m delighted with the boys – that was a fantastic performance.

“We really set ourselves up early on with clear rounds from Darragh and David – we weren’t for catching from then on.

“I like to give opportunities and this was a well-deserved call-up for David. He proved me right by jumping two excellent rounds on his first senior Nations Cup in the green jacket.

“We got off to the right start and the lads are so professional that they managed the lead very well – it sets us up now for the five star Longines League of Nations second leg in Ocala in a few weeks.”

The Irish team celebrate their Nations Cup win in Wellington. Pic: Sportfot