Ireland drawn first to go in vital Polish Nations Cup in Sopot as Rodrigo Pessoa names team

  • 15 June 2019, 19:48

The Irish Show Jumping team have been handed the toughest possible draw for tomorrow’s (Sunday) hugely important Longines FEI Nations Cup at Sopot in Poland, with Rodrigo Pessoa’s team drawn first out of the hat – meaning they will be the first team to enter the arena when the competition starts at the earlier than usual time of 9.30am Irish time.

The home team from Poland will be second into the arena, followed by France, Brazil, Germany, Belgium, Austria and The Netherlands.

Ireland, sponsored by Devenish and The Underwriting Exchange, will line out as follows:

Limerick’s Paul O’Shea with Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu – owned by Machu Picchu Partners LLC
Cork’s Shane Sweetnam with Alejandro – owned by Seabrook LLC
Waterford’s Peter Moloney with Chianti’s Champion – owned by Team Harmony
Wexford’s Bertram Allen with Harley VD Bisschop – owned by Ballywalter Stable

Speaking ahead of the competition, Rodrigo Pessoa said his team are focused on delivering a positive result.

“This is a very important round after our fourth place finish in La Baule. This is only our second round but we need to score big here and everyone is aware of that. We are testing Harley VD Bisschop and Alejandro for the first time – these are horses we have seen a bit of. We are looking for a good result here tomorrow and we will give it a go,” Pessoa commented.

Ireland will be hoping to add to the 70 league points they picked up on their first points-scoring outing at La Baule (FRA) in May, knowing that following Sopot, Ireland have just two more opportunities to gain points – at Hickstead (GBR) in July and Dublin in August.

Pessoa and his development team manager Michael Blake have used several different combinations in Nations Cup competitions during the early part of the season, in order to build a wide pool of horses and riders and are now entering a crucial period – not least in relation to all important Olympic qualification.

Pessoa has stated from the outset that the main focus for this year is to gain Olympic qualification at the European Championships in Rotterdam (NED) in August. Three Olympic places will be on offer at the Europeans for teams not yet qualified, but along with Ireland, the list of nations still looking for a coveted ticket to Tokyo includes France, Great Britain, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

There will be one final Olympic place on offer at September’s Nations Cup World Final in Barcelona, which is one of the reasons why tomorrow’s outing in Sopot is so important. Ireland must finish among the top seven teams on the Nations Cup league table after the last round in Dublin to make the Barcelona final, meaning every league point will prove vital.

The Longines FEI Nations Cup of Poland in Sopot starts at 9.30am Irish time on Sunday and is live on FEITV.

There was success for Ireland in the individual competitions in Sopot on Saturday evening when Cork’s Billy Twomey scored an impressive win. He partnered Chat Botte E.D to victory in the 1m50 two phase competition, finishing half a second ahead of Belgian runner-up Gudrun Patteet and Sea Coast Crystal de Leau.

Meanwhile in the five-star Longines Global Champions Tour 1m60 Grand Prix at Stockholm in Sweden, Mayo’s Michael G Duffy and The Irish Sport Horse Lapuccino, owned by Carl Hanley Sporthorses, recorded an excellent sixth place finish. One of 10 combinations to make it into the jump-off, they completed a double clear round, crossing the line in 38.58 seconds. Victory went to to home favourite Peder Fredricson (SWE) with H&M All In with a blistering round in 33.95.

Lapuccino 2 (ISH) – 2008 stallion by SIEC Livelllo (HOLST) out of Cabaret III (BHD). Breeder: Sven Kapp, Co. Galway. Owner: Carl Hanley Sporthorses GmbH. Rider: Michael G Duffy (IRL)

The Irish Show Jumping team is sponsored by Devenish and The Underwriting Exchange
Equiline – Official athlete clothing supplier of Team Ireland Equestrian

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