Irish Show Jumping team take runner-up spot in Czech Nations Cup
- 21 August 2020, 19:59
The Irish Show Jumping team managed by Michael Blake, have recorded an impressive runner-up finish on their long-awaited return to Nations Cup action today (Friday) at Prague’s Chuchle arena in the Czech Republic.
Ireland were in a four-way tie for the lead at the halfway stage on a zero score after clear rounds from Louth’s Mark McAuley (Jasco VD Bisschop), Wexford’s Bertram Allen (Gun Powder) and Waterford’s Anthony Condon (SFS Aristio), meaning they could discard the four faults picked up by Michael Duffy with Jeff Ten Halven.
Austria, Italy and The Netherlands were also on zero while the home team from the Czech Republic were in fifth at that point on a single time fault. Germany. Belgium and Japan also made it through to the second round while Slovakia, Egypt, Argentina, New Zealand and Poland all missed the halfway cut.
Ireland made a perfect start to the second round when McAuley completed a double clear performance, however that was to prove the last Irish clear of the competition. Bertram Allen picked up eight faults second time out while both Duffy and Condon finished with four faults apiece. That left Ireland as runners-up on a two round total of eight faults while victory went to the Dutch team on a four fault final total. Japan took the third spot on the podium one fence behind Ireland, while Germany finished fourth ahead of the home team from the Czech Republic in fifth.
Irish team manager Michael Blake was delighted to be back in Nations Cup action and paid tribute to his team’s effort:
“It was great to be back in that atmosphere of Nations Cup jumping. We had a great team spirit and the other two lads, Richard Howley and David Simpson who were also part of the squad here were great support. On the day the Dutch were just one fence too strong for us. Full congratulations to Mark [McAuley] for going in first and jumping double clear. Everyone had a counting score so it was a great team effort.
“Obviously we would have liked to win but we had 13 teams here, some very strong nations and I think we gave a very good account of ourselves. It was a little evident that some of the horses were a bit out of match practice which is to be expected but all our lads were excellent. We jumped clear rounds but just not enough of them today. I want to say a special thank you to the show organisers, to all our owners and of course to all our grooms who worked tirelessly. It was a blazing hot day of 34 degrees and they did a great job running a Nations Cup and it turned out to be a fantastic competition with some of the best riders in the world.”
Ireland will be back in Nations Cup action next weekend at Drammen in Norway.
The Irish Show Jumping team is sponsored by Devenish & The Underwriting Exchange
Equiline – Official athlete clothing supplier of Team Ireland Equestrian