Ireland qualify for Sunday’s FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final
- 28 September 2023, 17:20
The Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping Team have qualified for the final round of the FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona on Sunday afternoon.
Michael Blake’s team of Trevor Breen with Highland President, Denis Lynch with Vistogrand, Max Wachman with the Irish Sport Horse Kilkenny and Daniel Coyle with Gisborne VDL needed a top-eight finish in this afternoon’s opening round and will now progress through to the final after finishing seventh.
On what proved a tricky, technical course, combinations were caught out through the afternoon, with Breen and Highland President having one pole down to start proceedings for the Irish.
Lynch and Vistogrand were next into the arena and, like Breen before them, were unlucky to drop one fence on an otherwise excellent round on the way to finishing with four faults.
That left Ireland in eighth position at the break, with Wachman on Irish Sport Horse Kilkenny and Coyle with Gisborne VDL to come.
Santiago Varela’s course continued to prove difficult for the majority and Wachman also had a pole down with Kilkenny (ISH) while just adding a time fault by .02 seconds for a total of five, which would be Ireland’s discard score.
With pressure on, Coyle and Gisborne could ill-afford to make mistakes as Ireland sat in sixth place on eight faults. An additional four left Ireland hoping for others to drop poles, with Spain and France to come.
Thankfully, Spain’s anchor Eduardo Alvarez Asnar and D’Orient Batilly, a combination who impressed at the Dublin Horse Show, had an uncharacteristic round to add 16 faults to the Spanish total, knocking them out of the top eight and sending Ireland through.
It means Ireland will jump second on Sunday, with Great Britain last to jump after a zero score. Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, USA and France make up a star-studded final.
Horse Sport Ireland High Performance Show Jumping Director, Michael Blake, said: “Obviously I’m happy to be in the final on Sunday but we will need to improve on today’s performance if we are to medal.
“None of the lads had bad rounds but there were mistakes made and those mistakes will need to be sorted out if we’re to do well. It’s a very strong final eight remaining in the competition, as you would expect in the Nations Cup Final, so I’m expecting plenty of improvement.
“The main thing was to qualify, however, and we’ve done that so overall I’m pleased.”
Kilkenny (ISH) – 2012 gelding by Cardento (HOLST) out of MHS Pembrook Lady (ISH) by Guidam (SF). Breeder: Ita Brennan, Co. Kilkenny. Owner: Susan Magnier. Rider: Max Wachman (IRL).
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