Murphy confident of Irish chances at 5* Aachen Eventing Nations Cup

  • 1 July 2022, 11:05

Ireland’s Eventing team take on the very best in the world at the SAP Nations Cup, which kicks off this morning at CHIO Aachen in Germany.

Cathal Daniels with Barrichello (AES), Camilla Speirs with BT Angelo (ISH) and Joseph Murphy with Calmaro (DSP) team up, with Murphy confident of a bold showing at the star-studded competition.

“I’m really looking forward to it – we look to have a very strong team with Cathal and Camilla, and I would be hopeful of a podium finish,” Murphy, who finished an impressive ninth at the 5* Kentucky Three-Day Event, said.

“There are 13 nations here they’re all sending their best horses to see what they’re like in this big atmosphere in the big jumping ring and so the competition is unbelievably hot. We were third here last year so if we could get on the podium again it would be absolutely fantastic.

“With Calmaro, he has been great since his performance in Kentucky – he had a spin around in a one-day national competition a couple of weeks ago and that went well so he’s pretty spot on now and in brilliant form.

“I suppose plenty of roads lead to the World Championships and this is another stepping stone towards that but it’s a huge event in its own right and important to have a good run here so I’m looking forward to seeing what this brings.

Ireland’s Joseph Murphy and Calmaro (Photo: Irish Eventing Times)

“Things will be at fever pitch here in Aachen because the spectators will be close by for the Dressage and it’s a very confined area at times. It’s also a big stadium with a huge, huge arena.

“Calmaro can be a sensitive type so it will be very interesting to see how he goes in this kind of event but, for his progression, he needs it. He needs to be exposed to these kinds of environments as much as possible so he can learn.

“I’m hoping he’s going to be able to cope better and better all the time. Obviously on one side of it you can be on edge with them but on the other side you look forward to it, because he coped so well with it at Kentucky.

“I’m quietly confident that he will go well – but you could pick 20 others who you’d have down as the major competition. There are gold medalists here and it’s red hot, both individually and in the team event but I’m very happy to be in the mix.”

The format of the Nations Cup this weekend sees horses compete in both the Dressage and Show Jumping events on day one, before taking in the short-form cross country on day two.

It can be tough on a horse but, as Murphy explains, it can yield its own positives.

“There are positives to it, in so far as the horses are already warmed up and ready to go, as such, from the Dressage to when they jump. So, it’s good that you don’t have to pull them out on another day – stretch them out and limber them up,” continued Murphy.

“So that’s a bonus and, in a funny way, it makes it easier on them because they don’t tend to notice the atmosphere as much. Bringing them back into the atmosphere can add more mileage to them.

“So, I think it works pretty well and I think it will suit my horse because he is very blood so I’m looking forward to getting going. There’s a little bit of added pressure on us because I’m third to go for the team but I relish these days and I’ll raise my game for it.”

If Murphy sounds confident, it’s because he feels confident. Success breeds success and after Kentucky, the partnership are riding high.

“I’m very happy with him – you obviously don’t know how things will pan out, obviously but I know him well, we’re a good confident partnership and we’re building now.

“On paper I’m very happy with him and I think he’s going to have a good result if he can keep a lid on things, from a sensitivity point of view. And he’s a quick horse who loves jumping so the format will suit, and I can’t wait to get started.”