• 30 August 2014, 15:57
IRELAND is in sight of Olympic qualification after finishing in sixth place at the close of the second phase of championship Eventing at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy today (Saturday).

The top six nations after the final show jumping phase on Sunday will automatically obtain qualification for the Rio games, and if Ireland can maintain its 30 point lead over seventh-placed Canada, then qualification will be assured.

A strong cross country performance this afternoon from the Irish quartet of Sam Watson, Sarah Ennis, Joseph Murphy and Aoife Clark lifted the Irish team six places from their 12th position after dressage yesterday.

Meanwhile Irish individual rider Camilla Speirs with the diminutive Portersize Just a Jiff was best of the Irish at the end of the day with just 20 time faults leaving them in 21st place, but second individual rider Clare Abbott and Euro Prince were eliminated on the difficult Haras du Pin course.

The difficult cross country track saw some spectacular refusals and falls, and a total of 28 combinations were either eliminated, withdrawn or retired during the afternoon.

Germany is currently in the lead on 177.9 penalties, with Britain second on 186.8 and Australia third with 226.8 penalty points. Ireland has an overnight score of 294.3. Britain’s William Fox-Pitt and Chilli Morning are currently individual leaders on 50.3.

Sixteen nations are taking part in the Eventing championships.

WORLD EQUESTRIAN GAMES EVENTING: Irish team scores after cross country:
23rd Sam Watson/Horseware Bushman (ISH) 79.0
24th Aoife Clark/Fenya’s Elegance (ISH) 80.3
52nd Joseph Murphy/Electric Cruise (ISH) 135.0
56th Sarah Ennis/Horseware Stellor Rebound (ISH) 138.5
Irish Individual scores:
22nd Camilla Speirs/Portersize Just a Jiff (ISH) 76.8
Clare Abbott/Euro Prince (ISH): Eliminated

Leading Irish rider Camilla Speirs

Leading Irish rider Camilla Speirs