Runner-up finish for Ireland in Hickstead Nations Cup
- 28 July 2023, 19:42
The Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping Team finished a highly-creditable second at the FEI Longines Nations Cup of Great Britain at Hickstead this afternoon.
Ireland went toe-to-toe with the hosts throughout the afternoon and looked set for a jump-off after Mark McAuley and his superb mare GRS Lady Amaro jumped clear for a second time, before the combination suffered an unfortunate elimination leading to a runner-up finish.
It meant that Shane Breen’s second round score of eight with Cuick Star Kervec, which would have been Ireland’s discard score, was added to their total, leaving the home team to come home victorious with the pressure off.
Ireland finished with 12 faults to take second place behind Great Britain on a final score of four, with France completing the podium on a score of 16. It was a first victory on home soil for Great Britain since 2010.
Two clear first round efforts from both Jack Ryan on board BBS McGregor (ISH) and McAuley with GRS Lady Amaro (ISH), added to just the one pole down from Daniel Coyle and Legacy, meant Ireland were in a share of first place at the halfway point.
Breen’s two poles down had looked to be Ireland’s discard score when McAuley and GRS Lady Amaro returned following a second clear and Jack Ryan also jumped clear, before news filtered through of McAuley’s elimination. Coyle then kept his cool to jump clear in the final round of the afternoon and keep Ireland in second place.
The result has moved Ireland up to fourth on the Longines FEI Nations Cup Europe Division 1 league table, with the top seven teams qualifying for the final in Barcelona later in the year.
Despite the unfortunate events which ultimately proved costly, Horse Sport Ireland Show Jumping High Performance Director Michael Blake is taking plenty of encouragement ahead of the team’s defence of the Aga Khan Trophy at the Dublin Horse Show in under two weeks.
McAuley’s performance with GRS Lady Amaro, as well as a superb double clear from Ryan on Irish Sport Horse BBS McGregor were notable highlights, and with Daniel Coyle having just four faults for his two rounds there are grounds for confidence and optimism with Dublin on the horizon.
Blake said: “I thought they were fantastic – it was an outstanding team performance and it’s just extremely unfortunate that things transpired the way they did.
“To finish runner-up behind Great Britain on their own patch is still an excellent result and congratulations to them – we’ll look to do the same on our patch now in a couple of weeks.
“I must thank Hickstead for putting on a fantastic Nations Cup and now we move on to Dublin with plenty of confidence – Mark effectively jumped double clear, as did Jack, and Daniel needed to show his class at the end to make sure we were second. All-in-all, I’ve got to be happy.”
Ireland’s runner-up team at Hickstead, in alphabetical order, was as follows;
Shane Breen with Cuick Star Cervec, owned by Breen Equestrian Ltd & Quirke Sport Horses Ltd.
Daniel Coyle with Legacy, owned by Ariel Grange and Daniel Coyle.
Mark McAuley with GRS Lady Amaro (ISH), owned by S.N.C McAuley.
Jack Ryan with BBS McGregor (ISH), owned by Marguerite Ryan.
BBS McGregor (ISH) – 2012 gelding by Cardento (HOLST) out of Random Chance (ISH) by Mark Twain (TB). Breeder and Owner: Marguerite Ryan, Co. Kilkenny. Rider: Jack Ryan (IRL).
GRS Lady Amaro (ISH) – 2013 mare by Amaretto Darco (BWP) out of Legal Lady (TB) by Over The River (TB). Breeder: Denis Hickey, Co. Wexford. Owner: S.n.c McAuley. Rider: Mark McAuley (IRL).
Caption: Horse Sport Ireland Show Jumping High Performance Director Michael Blake leads his team into the arena after their runner-up finish at Hickstead
The Irish Show Jumping team is sponsored by The Underwriting Exchange
Charles Ancona – Official athlete clothing supplier to HSI’s Senior Olympic programmes
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