Ireland fights back to finish equal third in French Nations’ Cup
- 17 May 2013, 16:13
TEAM Ireland finished equal third in today’s (Friday) hard-fought French Nations’ Cup at the seaside town of La Baule, gaining vital points from the first round of the 2013 Furusiyya Nations’ Cup Series.
Despite two clear rounds from Shane Sweetnam on Amaretto Darco and Shane Breen with Balloon, the Irish quartet lay in equal seventh place at the halfway stage, but a remarkable recovery in the second round saw them pull themselves up the leaderboard to finish in equal third with Great Britain and France.
Sweetnam collected eight faults on his second attempt, but Breen had just one fence down. Shane Carey, who had two fences down with Ballymore Eustace on his first round, came back with a single time fault, while Billy Twomey and the mare Tinka’s Serenade recovered from a nine-fault tally to produce a textbook clear in the final round.
A total of 13 faults in the competition gave Ireland an equal third finish alongside Great Britain and France, while the Netherlands on eight faults pipped Switzerland to the trophy with a margin of three faults in hand.
As the Netherlands, under the new 2013 rules, had not designated La Baule as one of their venues to collect series points, this means that Ireland now shares equal second place on the Furusiyya table.
Irish show jumping team manager Robert Splaine said after the competition: “This was a gutsy performance from the Irish team, with four top riders producing an excellent performance against powerful opposition, and delivering three clear rounds in the process. We were testing two new horses at La Baule, and the fact that they came through so well strengthens our hand for the rest of the series.
“I’m very pleased that all four combinations contributed to our equal third place with France and Great Britain, giving us a strong equal second position on the league’s leaderboard. I’d particularly like to thank the owners, Spy Coast Farms (Amaretto Darco), Breen Equestrian Ltd., Edmund Simpson and Anatoli Pysarenko (Balloon), Mrs. Jackie Bolger and Mel Sutcliffe (Ballymore Eustace) and Sue and Eddie Davies (Tinka’s Serenade) for making these talented horses available to the Irish team today.”
The 2013 Furusiyya Nations’ Cup Series continues for Ireland at St. Gallen, Switzerland at the beginning of June, with Aachen in Germany and the home ground of Dublin the other venues where the Irish team can collect league points this year.
Shane Sweetnam/Amaretto Darco 0/8
Shane Breen/Balloon 0/4
Shane Carey/Ballymore Eustace 8/1
Billy Twomey/Tinka’s Serenade 9/0
TOTAL 13 faults