Ireland in ninth place following Olympic Cross Country with Evans on target to make individual final

  • 8 August 2016, 21:16

The Irish Eventing team are in ninth place overall following an incredibly tough day of Cross Country action at Deodora Olympic Park in Rio. Irish rider Jonty Evans remains in contention to reach the Eventing individual final, while it was an excellent day for Irish breeding, with three Irish-bred horses now inside the top 10.

Just three of the 65 starters managed to finish inside the time allowed, over what proved to be the toughest Cross Country course in modern Olympic history. Figures released by Irish-based Eventing statistic providers Equi Ratings, showed the Rio Cross Country course delivered a clear jumping rate of just 40.6%, which smashes the previous toughest scoring of 47.6% set in Sydney in 2000.

Incredibly 19 combinations were either eliminated or retired on course, including Ireland’s first rider, Padraig McCarthy riding Simon Porloe. Drawn third to go of the 65 starters, the Tipperary rider and the 16-year-old gelding were eliminated following a fall but thankfully both horse and rider walked away unharmed.

8 August 2016; Jonty Evans of Ireland on Cooley Rorkes Drift in action during the Eventing Team Cross Country at the Olympic Equestrian Centre, Deodoro during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Jonty Evans and Cooley Rorkes Drift (ISH) in action during the Eventing Cross Country at the Olympic Equestrian Centre, Deodoro during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Clare Abbott and The Irish Sport Horse Europrince, gave Ireland their first counting score, completing the course with two jumping errors and 25.6 time penalties. Jonty Evans with The Irish Sport Horse Cooley Rorkes Drift then produced a brilliant clear jumping round, adding just 22.80 time penalties to their excellent Dressage score of 41.80. Ireland’s last line rider, Mark Kyle, was under pressure to deliver a counting score to ensure the team advanced to the final Show Jumping phase. A solid round from Kyle and the 10-year-old mare Jemilla, saw them finish with a single jumping error and 30.80 time penalties. This left Ireland on a team total of 278.40 in ninth overall.

Australia lead the team competition on 150.30 ahead of New Zealand in second on 154.80, while France occupy the bronze medal position on 161.00

Ireland’s Jonty Evans is in 16th place on just 64.60 penalties, with Mark Kyle next best of the Irish in 35th and Clare Abbott in 38th spot. Australia’s Christopher Burton is in the gold medal position, ahead of Germany’s Michael Jung in second and Frenchman Astier Nicolas in third.

Speaking from Rio afterwards, Horse Sport Ireland Eventing Team Manager Nick Turner said:

“We are of course disappointed not to improve on our position after Dressage. Padraig’s horse got a bit of a fright at fence six and was never really going well after that. Clare’s horse was a bit fresh and a handful, and they unfortunately had two jumping mistakes. Jonty did a great job under team orders to get round and make sure we had a team score and it was a brilliant clear from him. Mark dug deep and was very unlucky to have that one jumping error but at least we have a team score going forward into Show Jumping.

Turner continued, “We knew this was never going to be just a Dressage competition but we gave it our best shot, which unfortunately on the day just wasn’t enough. The course was very tough and technical and the competitiveness worked against a lot of teams. The big positive is that Jonty is still inside the top 20 and if he could go well again tomorrow morning and make it into the individual final that would be fantastic. I would like to say a special thanks to our reserve rider Camilla Speirs who played a massive role here helping the team today during the Cross Country, and her mother Bridget who was so helpful after each round helping to cool the horses down. Their experience and professionalism has been invaluable here in Rio.”

Three Irish-bred horses are currently inside the top 10. Mighty Nice (ISH) and Phillip Dutton (USA) are just outside the medal places in fifth, while Summon Up The Blood (IRE)(TB) and Carlos Parro (BRA) are in seventh. Paulank Brockagh (ISH) and Sam Griffiths (AUS) are in ninth position. PAULANK BROCKAGH

The team medals will be decided following the first round of Show Jumping tomorrow (Tuesday), while the top 25 individuals will then go forward to another jumping round to see who wins the individual medals.

Breeding detail available below:

Padraig McCarthy with Simon Porloe (PZHK) 2000 bay gelding by Sofix out of Babilonia by Czubaryk. Owner: Christopher & Sarita Perkins

Clare Abbott with Europrince (ISH), 2003 chestnut gelding by Lougheries Quiet Man (UNK) out of Miss Tullydraw. (UNK). Breeder & Owner: Dr Cormac McKay.

Jonty Evans with Cooley Rorke’s Drift (ISH), 2006 gelding by Courage II out of Doon-A-Ree-Lass, by Rachelle Comet. Breeder: William McCarrison Owner: Fiona Elliot & Jonty Evans.

Mark Kyle with Jemilla, (SHBGB). 2006 bay mare by Mill Law out of Jessica XIX by Louella Moschallah. Owner: Shelagh & Richard Morley.

Mighty Nice (ISH) – 2004 gelding by Ard Ohio (KWPN) out of Sarazen (ISH). Breeder: William Kells, Co. Cavan. Owner: HND Group. Rider: Phillip Dutton (USA

Summon Up The Blood (IRE)(TB) – 2005 gelding by Red Ransom (TB) out of Diddymu (IRE)(TB), by Revogue (IRE)(TB). Breeders: D. D. and Mrs Jean P. Clee (IRE). Owners: Carlos Paro & Nicola Tootle. Rider: Carlos Parro (BRA)

Paulank Brockagh (ISH) – 2003 mare by Touchdown (ISH) out of Calender Girl (ISH), by Triggerero (TB). Breeder: Paula Cullen. Owners: Mr & Mrs S Posford, Mrs J Carter and Sam Griffiths. Rider: Sam Griffiths (AUS)

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