CAPTAIN GEOFF CURRAN and eventing high performance manager Ginny Elliot are confident the Army officer’s mount, The Jump Jet, will be fighting fit for the Alltech World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.
Capt Curran and the 12-year-old gelding were drafted into the squad after the withdrawal of Michael Ryan and first reserve Jayne Doherty as a result of injury to their respective horses, Ballylynch Adventure and The Only One.
The pair’s call-up came just days after they finished 17th in Burghley and, while there are just 28 days between the English event’s cross-country and the same phase at WEG, Capt Curran said The Jump Jet will show no ill-effects.
“It’s a pity for Mike, but it is great for me, The Jump Jet’s owner, Maurice Cassidy and the Army Equitation School. It’s a great privilege, but The Jump Jet would not be going if he was not 110%. The Equitation School vet and the Horse Sport Ireland vet have looked at him and they see no reason why he should not go,” said the rider from Fenor, Co Waterford.
The eventing competition at WEG begins on September 30, with the cross-country on October 2 and Capt Curran feels The Jump Jet can rise to the challenge.
“He is well up to the task. He was extremely comfortable in Burghley, where the going was ideal. The going will also be perfect in Kentucky. I know the horse better than anybody. He is the type that can do it. Sure, it’s not normal practice [a four-week gap between competitions at this level], but with the short format, which is just 6kms, and on the best of going, it is not too taxing on this type of horse. He is by Cavalier, who breeds them tough.”
“He did Kentucky in April and had a long break afterwards. Burghley was his sixth competition this year, so he has not done a lot. Everything is telling me to go.
“He also flies very well. When we went to Kentucky, he was as fresh as a daisy. Travelling does not have a negative affect on him,” said Capt Curran.
On August 20, high performance manager Elliot justified adding Capt Curran to the long-list, by saying: “Geoff and The Jump Jet did not finish as high up as hoped at this year’s Rolex in Kentucky but the combination has completed three four-star events and I was impressed with how they went at Hartpury.”
Yesterday, in a statement issued by Horse Sport Ireland (HSI), she said: The Jump Jet “has come out of Burghley really well... and he is in great form... we are fortunate to able to call on such an experienced combination at four-star level”.
Ryan and Ballylynch Adventure were major players in the squad, producing jumping clears in the cross-country and show jumping at Luhmühlen, Germany, in June to finish 17th. Unsurprisingly, the Cork-based Limerick rider is very disappointed at his enforced withdrawal.
“We did a bit of work on him and he went lame on his near fore and it’s just too close to the event to risk him. After all the preparations, it’s a shame. I’m very disappointed. It’s also very disappointing for the owners, Tom and Carol Henry, who are based in South Carolina and were really looking forward to seeing him in Kentucky,” said Ryan, whose wife Patricia is also on the squad.
“He is a big loss to the Irish. I’m lucky that Tom and Carol are so supportive. Tom said to me: ‘We won’t get caught like this again, we’ll just have to have back-up for the next time’.”
Ryan also revealed that, originally, he was also named as third reserve with Old Road, but said the veteran horse is now first reserve.
“I’m here and ready if they come calling,” he said.
The WEG squad is: Capt Geoff Curran (The Jump Jet), Mark Kyle (Step in Time), Liz Power (Kilpatrick River), Patricia Ryan (Fernhill Clover Mist), Camilla Speirs (Portersize Just a Jiff), Sam Watson (Horseware Bushman).
* THE following combinations were announced this week for the World Breeding Federation Jumping Championships for Young Horses, which run from September 23 to 26 at Lanaken, Belgium:
Five-year-olds: Cappanaleigh Cruise (ISH) & Greg Broderick; Cruising Lux (ISH) & Peter Smyth; Interpreter (ISH) & James Hogg, Isobelle Argentina (ISH) & Daniel Coyle, Mullentine Loughgall (ISH) & Capt. David O’Brien. First reserve: Electric Feel (ISH) & Alan O’Regan. Second reserve: BP Blondey (ISH) & Greg Broderick.
Six-year-olds: Cuffesgrange Lux Good (ISH) & David Blake, NLS Coole Al Clover (ISH) & Clem McMahon, Oldtown KC (ISH) & Trevor Breen, Rincarina (ISH) & Greg Broderick, Ringwood Glen (ISH) & Capt. David O’Brien. First reserve: I’m One Cool Cookie (ISH) & John McGuinness. Second reserve: Special Lux (ISH) & Stephen Egan.
Seven-year-olds: Ballypatrick Mystique (ISH) & Greg Broderick, Beer Hunter (ISH) & Trevor Breen, Drumiller Lough (ISH) & Capt. David O’Brien, Victoria Rose (ISH) & Peter Smyth, Wilywonty (ISH) & Clem McMahon. First reserve: Corrib House (ISH) & Peter Smyth. Second reserve: Independant Sambo (ISH) & Antonia De Burgh.
lTHE Munster final of the Ballymaloe Country Relish National Ladies League takes place at the Cork/Kerry Branch Gymkhana in Dromohane this Sunday.
The event will also include a “credit-crunch arena”, featuring newcomer ponies, a 70cms class for 128cms ponies and three sportsman classes. All entries in this arena are only €10.
The gymkhana starts at 9.30am. Enquiries: 087/4125633.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved