The team go into today’s final round in ninth place overall, but, more importantly, in fifth place of those countries chasing the three Rio tickets up for grabs.
However, O’Connor, Denis Lynch, Greg Broderick and Bertram Allen are just one fence adrift of Denmark and Spain, with Switzerland also vulnerable in overnight sixth place. Reigning Olympic champions Britain lie fourth and are almost assured of qualification for next year’s Games.
“It’s like a brand new nations cup tomorrow, in so far as many teams are less than one fence apart,” said O’Connor after yesterday’s second round.
“Also, until now, the course builder has had to allow for the weaker teams, but tomorrow it’s the top 10 from the last two rounds, which means it should be bigger. That suits us, as we all have big-jumping horses. I’m confident that with three good scores tomorow we will earn Rio qualification.”
Meath-based O’Connor ensured the dream of a place in the Olympics is not a forlorn hope yesterday, providing a clear with Good Luck. Allen and Molly Malone V had a single error, while Lynch and All Star 5 were clear until the final fence. Greg Broderick and MHS Going Global had an uncharacteristic eight faults.
- The Owners’ Pony and Young Riders Charity Show at Millstreet in October has been granted international status and will host a nations-cup-style competition.
Four provincial qualifiers will take place to make up eight teams for the show. The qualifiers will be at Mullingar (Aug 23), Enniscrone (Aug 30), Lusk Equestrian Centre (Sept 5) and Banteer Show, which takes place at Cork Showgrounds (Sept 13).
Organising committee spokesman Keith Griffin said achieving CSIP status was a huge opportunity for children.
“This will allow the riders to develop and compete at a level that would not normally be available to them, as typically it necessitates traveling abroad and the huge expense inherent in that,” said Griffin.
The Owners’ Show has been on the go for 29 years and has raised over 300,000 euro for various charities.
- Horse Sport Ireland chairman Pat Wall says an audit on its distribution of Irish Sports Council (ISC) funding will not be delivered until September.
The audit was commissioned by the ISC following its appearance before the Public Accounts Committee in February.
Its objective is to “provide an assessment of the governance arrangements, finance control framework and grant award process within HSI”.
The audit followed a complaint to the PAC regarding the distribution by HSI of council funding for international events.
HSI anticipated that the report would be completed by last month.
The audit means the allocation of international hosting grants and sports affiliate grants for 2015 are on hold pending its completion.
Wall said it was standard practice for the ISC to audit federations, which was confirmed yesterday by the ISC. He expected that, following the audit, there could be “a slightly different way of slicing up the pie”.
“Some events might get less than in previous years, but not much less. Others might get more,” said Wall.
“We have approved distribution of funds, based on the number of participants, international riders, and star-ratings.”
“The Irish Draught Horse Breeders is holding its national show on Saturday, Aug 29, at Punchestown Racecourse. There will be a ridden hunter class, young stock classes, and a mare of the future championship. A host of other classes will also include a popular young showperson contest for those aged 16-22. The Southern Region are sponsoring the final of the ridden performance final.
If you want to see the best of Irish draughts, Punchestown is the place to be. Enquiries: 086-1681675.
* On the following day, August 30, the West Cork Horse Breeders hold their annual show at Bandon Showgrounds.
By far the biggest class and most prestigious is the ISA All-Ireland Breeders Championship final, due to start at 2pm.
Last year’s winner, Baxters Clover Buffet, only travelled a few miles, from owner Rosemarie Deasy’s farm and will make the same trip to defend her crown, accompanied by her colt foal Watermill Swatch.
Two qualifiers remain, in Pilltown and Moate, with the spread of finalists already stretching from Cork to Armagh, with Ruth Loney’s Belvue Bird and Luidam foal trying to win the prize for the North. She will face stiff opposition from PJ Lehane’s Dublin qualifier PJ’s Dream with her first foal by the TB stallion Munther. Derry Rothwell won this class in 2013 and is looking to win it back this year with his filly foal by another TB stallion in Financial Reward.
The show will stage 15 pony classes, from lead rein to ridden, run in conjunction with the Irish Pony Society, as well as the usual young horse and mare and foal classes, which includes the filly and colt progeny classes confined to West Cork Horse Breeders members.
Entries close on August 25.