Watson and Ryan finish in top 20 at European Eventing Championships

  • 13 September 2015, 16:18

THREE clear show jumping rounds in the final phase of the FEI European
Eventing Championships at Blair Castle, Scotland today (Sunday) left
Ireland with two riders finishing in the top 20 and one in the top 30.

Carlow’s Sam Watson with Horseware Lukeswell (ISH) competed as an
individual for Ireland in the championships, and his zero score today
left him in 12th place overall, the best of the Irish performances on a
total of 59.30 penalties.

Co. Cork’s Michael Ryan, the only team member to complete Saturday’s
cross country course without mishap, today finished 14th individually on
Ballylynch Adventure (ISH) with a total score of 61.10.

Ireland’s other individual competitor, Kildare’s Camilla Speirs aboard
Portersize Just a Jiff (ISH), completed on a score of 79.50, to leave
her in 29th place.

Yesterday’s tough cross country course at Blair Castle Scotland led to a
total of 19 combinations suffering retirement or elimination, including
three of the Irish team.

Heavy rain squalls swept former Olympian Ian Stark’s cross country track
as many of the world’s top riders made uncharacteristic mistakes,
leading to retirement or elimination. Under FEI rules, a single fall
leads to automatic elimination, and this was the fate of first Joseph
Murphy and Sportsfield Othello (ISH), then Padraig McCarthy with the
gelding Simon Porloe, and finally Austin O’Connor on Balham Houdini

The Irish eliminations occurred late in the cross country stage, with
riders going well. Clear rounds would have catapulted all three
competitors into the top ten overnight, but solace was drawn from the
fact that no horses or riders were hurt in the falls.

With championship team status no longer achievable, Ireland’s hopes
resided with  today’s trio of riders, competing as individuals.

Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and Russia joined Ireland in failing to get
the minimum of three riders home yesterday, and all five nations could
no longer compete as teams.

Ireland was not challenging for an Olympic slot at the championships
this weekend, having already qualified for Rio at last year’s World
Equestrian Games in Normandy.

Germany’s Michael Jung was the individual Gold medallist at Blair today,
riding fischerTakinou, with Silver also going to a German combination,
Sandra Auffarth and Opgun Louvo, while France’s Lt. Col. Thibaut
Vallette and Qing du Briot claimed the Bronze.

Germany also took Team Gold, with Great Britain in Silver and France
taking Bronze.

Sam Watson and Horseware Lukeswell (ISH) going clear in the show jumping phase today

Sam Watson and Horseware Lukeswell (ISH) going clear in the show jumping phase today