No joy for Irish in Spain

Ireland’s show jumpers joined the Netherlands, Germany, the US, Belgium and Portugal in failing to make the second round of the five-star Promotional League Nations Cup at Gijon, Spain, on Saturday.

A tough course resulted in three eliminations for the US and yielded no double-clears from the 13 countries, while providing only six single clear rounds from the starting field of 52 horse/rider combinations.

Billy Twomey and Romanov opened with 15 faults, before Marion Hughes and Heritage HHS Fortune returned one less. Trevor Coyle and Jubilee d’Ouilly racked up 23 faults, while Conor Swail retired with Lansdowne to leave the team on 52 faults and second last.

The competition was won by France, while fourth place for the Ukraine was good enough to secure league victory.

Despite the poor showing, Ireland manager Robert Splaine was stoic.

“Gijon is always a top-class show and it is vital in developing new combinations and giving new possibilities the opportunity to compete at a high level with the future in mind... and, though we did not do well in the nations cup, we still learned a lot,” said the Corkman.

Swail’s disappointment was offset by a brace of wins with Martha Louise, opening his account on Saturday, and returning yesterday to claim the speed final.

The Co Down rider also placed second with Lansdowne in a 1.50m class.

With a five-year Saudi-sponsorship deal promised, the Promotional League and the FEI Top League are to undergo a transformation, with a new system of regional qualifying leagues, semi-finals and a world final on the cards. A draft copy of proposed changes for 2013 has been sent to national federations, the International Jumping Riders Club, chef d’equipes and show organisers, including the RDS, for their comments. These will be considered at a meeting of the Federation Equestre Internationale Jumping Committee on September 12/13, following which a final proposal will be submitted to the FEI Bureau for approval.

Meanwhile, at the four-star show in Bridgehampton, New York, four faults in the second round was good enough to see Cork’s Shane Sweetnam and Amareto d’Arco finish runners-up in the $250,000 grand prix to American Kent Farrington and Voyeur, who provided the sole clear round.

At the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, Sam Watson and Horseware Bushman finished in 30th position, adding 35.2 penalties on the cross-country to his dressage score of 47.8pens, and picking up four in yesterday’s show jumping for a completion of 87pens.

In Banteer, Co Cork, Maura Counihan, riding Killerisk Minnie, beat 20 jump-off rivals to win the Munster Connolly’s Red Mills 1.35m Greyhound Grand Prix Final. Her time was almost a second-and-a-half faster than that set by runner-up Francis Connors on Uskerty Diamond Lady, with Peter Moloney and Brookpark Matilda third. Tipperary’s Seamus Hayes was the league winner, while Tom Foley took the Young Rider title.

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up