Ireland grabs its share of international attention this week with Tattersalls International Horse Trials getting underway in Co. Meath today and Mullingar hosting its two-star international show jumping meeting over the Bank Holiday weekend. Today sees the start of dressage in the two-star classes at Tattersalls, with dressage for the three-star and four-star events commencing tomorrow.
Irish world silver-medalists Padraig McCarthy, Sam Watson, Cathal Daniels and Sarah Ennis will be taking on the international challengers, with Olympian Camilla Speirs also featuring among the host of home riders.
Leading internationals taking part include Britain’s William Fox-Pitt, Pippa Funnell and Izzy Taylor, Australian Andrew Hoy and New Zealanders Tim Price and Jonelle Price. Off the field of play there will no doubt be a huge welcome for Jonty Evans, who was seriously injured in a fall at the venue a year ago.
Continuing to make a good recovery, Evans and fellow Irish competitor Ciaran Glynn will host a Q&A session on Saturday. Mullingar’s show jumping fixture, now in its twelfth year, gets underway on Friday, with the international classes starting on Saturday with the 1.40m Grand Prix qualifier.
The Grand Prix carries a prize fund of €25,000 and is down for decision on Monday.
In Germany, Hamburg hosts the sixth Global Champions meeting of the season starting tomorrow with several Irish riders represented with their respective Global Champions League teams. Bertram Allen (Valkenswaard United), Shane Breen and Michael Duffy (Miami Celtics), Michael G. Duffy and Mark McAuley (Madrid In Motion), Denis Lynch (New York Empire), and Shane Sweetnam.(Shanghai Swans) will be part of the action.
Meanwhile, Billy Twomey routes to the French four-star meeting at St. Tropez and brings his 2018 Falsterbo Grand Prix winner Kimba Flamenco.
Ireland are not involved in this week’s nations cup qualifier at St. Gallen, Switzerland though manager Rodrigo Pessoa will no doubt be keeping an eye on who gets the points. Several of his team’s league rivals are involved and the breakdown of points from this fixture will have a bearing on the prospects of all ten teams in the elite European Division 1.
The Irish have had only one qualifier to date, placing fourth in France two weeks back, and won’t be in league action again until the Polish Nations Cup in the middle of June.
Last Friday the team, managed by Michael Blake, took a worthy second in the Italian Nations Cup, beaten only by Sweden who had three of the world silver-medal combinations in their line-up.
Although the Roman contest wasn’t a league affair it was a good test and it served to underline the horsepower at Ireland’s disposal this year which was further emphasised on Sunday when Cian O’Connor (Irenice Horta) and Darragh Kenny (Balou du Reventon) took second and fourth respectively in the Grand Prix.
On Saturday at Uggerhaine in Denmark the Taylor Vard-led developmental Irish team of Susan Fitzpatrick (Fellow Castlefield), Aidan Killeen (Fair Play), Ger O’Neill (Castlefield Vegas) and Jenny Rankin (Bennys Legacy) won their second successive nations cup when beating Poland in a jump-off having won the previous week in Norway’s equivalent.
Irish teams will compete this week as guests at nations cups in Lisbon, Portugal, and at Langley, Canada, both of which events they won last year. Ireland will also contest the pony nations cup at Wierden, Netherlands.
The past weekend brought the news that Ireland will have a dressage team at this year’s Aachen festival in Germany in August after the organisers of the prestigious event invited Anna Merveldt, Judy Reynolds and Heike Holstein following their run of good results this year.