RTE to broadcast live coverage of Horse Sport Ireland Show Jumping Masters this Christmas
- 11 December 2020, 17:11
Show Jumping returns to TV screens with a host of Ireland’s top International riders set to compete in spectacular event
Irish equestrian sport has received a massive boost this week, after it was confirmed that the Horse Sport Ireland Show Jumping Masters is to be televised live on RTE, in a prime-time national television slot just before Christmas.
Many of Ireland’s top international riders, including those who recently lined-out on FEI Nations Cup duty across Europe and who are in contention for a place on Michael Blake’s Show jumping squad for the Tokyo Olympics, have confirmed that they will be among a star-studded field, for a competition which will be broadcast live on Friday December 18th from 6.30pm to 8.55pm on RTE 2 television and on the RTE Player.
Global superstars Bertram Allen and Denis Lynch are among the European-based riders set to return home to compete and the list of athletes also includes former World Champion Dermott Lennon, and last year’s winner of the Longines Grand Prix of Ireland and Nations Cup regular Shane Breen.
Canada-based Daniel Coyle who is one of seven Irish riders inside the top 50 on the Longines World Rankings is also set to compete in the HSI Show Jumping Masters along with Olympian Greg Broderick, reigning and Irish National Champion Capt Geoff Curran from the Army Equitation school and former World Breeding Championship Gold medal winners Ger O’Neill and Jason Foley along with silver medal winner Mikey Pender.
Several top foreign riders will add an international flavour to the competition including Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping winner Sameh El Dahan from Egypt, Britain’s Georgia Tame and Canada’s Rebecca McGoldrick. Two former winners of the Hickstead Derby also line-out with Paul Beecher and Trevor Breen both among the starters.
A large group of Irish riders who are now based in the UK are set to return home including, Michael Duffy, Richard Howley, David Simpson and Young Rider Jack Ryan, a European Championship U18 bronze medal winner and winner of Grand Prix competitions in the Middle.
Among the list of competitors are a group of the sports rising stars that includes, Kate Derwin, Jason Foley and Susan Fitzpatrick.
Horse Sport Ireland acting CEO Joe Reynolds (pictured) said:
“People still talk about the times when Show Jumping was on live television back in the 80’s at venues such as Millstreet and Salthill and for many people that was their first taste of our sport. This has the potential to be the dawn of a new era and an opportunity to showcase to the Irish public, our exceptionally talented group of Irish riders that are regularly winning competitions on the international stage. It is also a chance to give people a taste of what is in store next year when for the first time in history, Ireland will be represented at the Olympic Games in Tokyo by full teams in Dressage, Jumping and Eventing.
“I want to thank RTE for this huge commitment to broadcast this exciting competition live across the nation. Our Elite riders all came on board at very short notice and I want to thank them for the huge effort they are all making to support this HSI Show Jumping Masters.”
Irish Eventing rider Cathal Daniels, who claimed individual bronze at the European Eventing Championships and who regularly competes on the Show Jumping circuit, is also included among the list of athletes.
Along with coverage of the HSI Show Jumping Masters, the two-and-a-half-hour programme from Emerald International will also feature interviews with members of the Irish Dressage and Eventing teams who have qualified for next summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games.
Declan McBennett, Group Head of RTE Sport said:
“As we head towards an Olympic year RTE Sport is delighted to showcase the very best of our equestrian talent in a domestic setting. HSI deserve enormous credit for bringing such talent together in these difficult times and we are delighted to again showcase Irish sport to those who cannot attend.”
Horse Sport Ireland Press Officer Brian Hennessy added:
“There has been a significant increase in coverage of Equestrian Sport in recent years by RTE on their Six-One News bulletins, with footage of major Grand Prix wins, our success at Nations Cup, European and World Championship level, and qualification for the Tokyo Olympics for our Dressage, Jumping and Eventing teams all receiving positive coverage from our state broadcaster. We had plans in place this year, supported by RTE and the FEI, for live coverage of the FEI Nations Cup Series – not just at the Dublin Horse Show but also at other European venues but unfortunately this was disrupted by Covid-19. Again to RTE’s credit, they have been very supportive of this Horse Sport Ireland Show Jumping Masters at very short notice and we at HSI are really delighted to see Equestrian Sport featured live on national television to such a huge audience.”
In addition to a lucrative prize fund, the winning rider of the Horse Sport Ireland Show Jumping Masters will drive away in a stunning new Overlander 2-stall Horse Truck supplied by Hireco, Naas, Co Kildare.
The Horse Sport Ireland Show Jumping Masters will be run strictly behind closed doors in full compliance with all Covid-19 protocols, including Covid-19 testing of athletes returning from abroad.