Ireland finish second in five-star FEI Nations Cup in Rotterdam

  • 23 June 2023, 18:47

The Irish Show Jumping team pictured in Deauville with Taylor Vard, HSI Deputy Chef d’Epuipe 

Irish Show Jumping Team make up for EEF disappointment with five-star success

In what has been an excellent afternoon of top show jumping action Ireland finished as runners up in the CSIO5* Nations Cup in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Starting the afternoon off, Daniel Coyle won the 1.50 Ranking Class in the CSIO5* in Rotterdam with Legacy, a 13-year-old mare owned in partnership between Coyle and Ariel Grange.

Staying in Rotterdam, in the five-star FEI Nations Cup Michael Blake’s team proved a force to be reckoned with. Michael Duffy got The Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping team off to a stellar start, jumping clear with Cinca 3, owned by Hibernian Sport Horses Ltd.

Clear rounds were few and far between in the opening round. An unfortunate two fences down from Trevor Breen and Highland President, owned by Heather Black, meant they were the discard score in the opening round.

Next in for Ireland was Cian O’Connor riding Eve d’Quilly, owned by Nicole Walker. One fence down for this combination kept Ireland in contention. Following his victory earlier in the day, Coyle once again delivered. Partnering Grange’s Gisborne VDL, he produced an excellent clear round, leaving Ireland on a team score of 4 penalties after the opening round and in pole position.

At the half way marker it was all to play for, Ireland were just 1 penalty ahead of The Netherlands. Duffy was the first rider across all the teams to jump double clear, and proved to be only rider to do so.

Breen had one fence down in his second round. A clear round from O’Connor extended Ireland’s lead. With one rider left to jump Ireland sat on a team total of 4 ahead of the home nation on 6. Jumping in reverse order, the pressure was on following a clear round from the Netherlands.

Unfortunately, one fence down for Coyle pushed Ireland into second place finishing on a team score of 8. Germany completed the podium on a team score of 24.

EEF Nations Cup Semi-Final

In the Longines EEF Nations Cup Semi-Final, in Deauville France, Ireland faced an uphill battle after an unlucky opening round. Jason Foley was the only Irish rider to jump clear in the first round, riding Oscar v/h Hulstenhof, owned by Bruntwood Stables Bvba, Karel Cox Horses BV.

Matt Garrigan, Jenny Rankin and Conor Drain were all unlucky to each have one fence down, leaving Ireland on a team score of 8 going into the second round. At the half-way stage Spain, Sweden, France and Portugal were on a team total of 0 penalties.

Under the direction of HSI Deputy Chef d’Equipe Director Taylor Vard The Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping team rallied.

Garrigan and Quantum Robin V, owned by BWG Stables and Sova Sporthorses GmbH got the team off to a strong start jumping clear. Next into the arena for Ireland was Rankin riding Imar, owned by Barry O’Connor and Elizabeth Phillips who also jumped clear.

Following his clear round in the opening round Foley had one pole down in his second round leaving the pressure on Drain to jump clear with Conny Viscaal’s Imagine which is exactly what he did. A lovely clear round left Ireland on a team score of 8 faults.

With only five qualifying spaces for up for grabs, Ireland narrowly missed out on progressing to the Longines EEF Final finishing in sixth place.

Speaking afterwards, Vard said: “We’re all just so disappointed, unfortunately the damage was done in the first round and luck wasn’t on our side. We knew coming out here that we had the ability to qualify, things just didn’t go our way and that’s sport sometimes but it’s tough on the riders.

“We showed great grit and determination to come out and have a team score of 0 in the second round. Although this moved us up the leader board it wasn’t quite enough. The riders made a great comeback and I’m very proud of them for that.

“This is called a development league and that’s exactly what we are doing, we are developing, we have great depth in our squad now and we will continue to build and develop and will come back stronger from this.”

The Irish Show Jumping team is sponsored by The Underwriting Exchange

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