Condon and Aristio star as Ireland take runner-up spot in Hickstead Nations Cup
- 29 July 2016, 18:36
The Irish Show Jumping team finished as joint runners-up in the final round of the European Nations Cup series at Hickstead in England today (Friday), as Robert Spaine’s side comfortably booked their place in the lucrative world final which takes place in Barcelona this September.
Waterford-born Anthony Condon was the star performer for the Irish, jumping a foot-perfect double clear round with the stallion Aristio – a repeat of their flawless display at the Swedish Nations Cup in Falsterbo.
Billy Twomey and Diaghilev jumped clear first time out and lowered just a single rail second time of asking, while Bertram Allen and Molly Malone had one fence down in each round. A vital second round clear from Dublin Grand Prix runners-up, Shane Breen and Golden Hawk, saw Ireland finish on an eight fault total to share second spot with Belgium.
Germany took the winner’s trophy after an incredible display. Their first three riders between them jumped five clears and one four fault score, leaving their fourth line rider, Ludger Beerbaum, to have an afternoon off. The USA and Switzerland shared fourth place ahead of the home side from Britain in sixth.
The result means Britain and Belgium both fail to qualify for the Nations Cup final in Barcelona, where the top seven teams from Europe, including Ireland, will be joined by the remaining top ranked teams from around the globe.
Horse Sport Ireland Show Jumping team manager Robert Splaine said:
“As predicted this was an exceptionally tough contest and I was every pleased for the team of Bertram Allen, Billy Twomey, Anthony Condon and Shane Breen that we finished on the podium. Anthony Condon with the John Hales-owned Aristio delivered an outstanding double clear yet again, his third double clear at five-star Nations Cup level this year. Billy Twomey on Terry Payne’s Diaghilev gave us a clear in the first round and Shane Breen as our anchor man on P.Sultan & Breen Equestrian’s Golden Hawk delivered a crucial clear under pressure in the second round when it was needed most.
Meanwhile at the three-star show in Valberg, Sweden, Limerick-born Shane Carey scored a victory in the 1m45 two-phase class. He guided the 10-year-old mare Contenance to the winners time of 26.31 seconds to push Sweden’s Pontus Westergren into second.