Successful weekend on both sides of Atlantic for Irish show jumpers

Irish show jumpers plied their trade with success on both sides of the Atlantic at the weekend, notching up numerous victories.

At Spruce Meadows in Canada, Cork’s Shane Sweetnam produced the only clear in the Direct Energy Derby with the Swedish warmblood gelding Fineman, while also riding Cyklon to sixth place.

The Kanturk man and the Belgian Diktator van de Boslandhoeve also finished runner-up in a 1.50m jump-off, producing the second fastest of only three double clears in the competition. Down rider Conor Swail also tasted victory with Game Ready.

At the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany, Shane Breen led the way, scoring a brace with Zarnita and Ominerale Courcelle, in addition to notching up a number of good placings. The Tipperary rider was also best of the Irish in yesterday’s grand prix, four faults and a clear earning him ninth place on Balloon.

Also in winning mode was Cian O’Connor (Unique), while Dermott Lennon came close, but had to settle for the runner-up spot twice on Hallmark Elite.

The Irish eventing team placed sixth of seven teams in their Aachen nations cup debut, with Joseph Murphy and Electric Cruise finishing 11th individually.

The Down-based rider had a zero score in show jumping, before producing one of the day’s best cross-country runs, adding just 4.8 penalties to his dressage score for a total of 58.6pens.

Next best of the quartet was Cork’s Austin O’Connor, in 27th place, on Ringwood Mississippi. Aidan Keogh (Master Tredstep) and Sarah Ennis (Sugar Brown Babe) placed 31st and 32nd, respectively, of the 35 finishers in what was their first appearance on an Irish team.

The quartet was last after the dressage and show jumping, but the elimination of two US riders in the cross-country ensured Ireland avoided the wooden spoon.

Germany secured the team honours, with Australian Christopher Burton and Holstein Park Leilani producing the only fault-free cross-country to claim the individual title.

Ireland manager Nick Turner was “pleased with how the event went” for his team.

“It was our first time to be invited to the event and the riders did a very good job... Joseph was outstanding today and Austin did a very good job as pathfinder. Sarah and Aidan showed great maturity on their team debuts to get their horses home on a course that caused massive problems. This event will really stand them in good stead for the future,” he said.

In the Global Champions Tour contest at Monte Carlo, single errors for Denis Lynch (All Star 5) and Mark McAuley (Par Trois) put them out of contention in round one. McAuley, however, had already scored a win on Loriot when teaming up with Italian Maddalena Valenzano Menada (Quidana) in a pairs competition, while Lynch rode Night Train to second place in a speed class.


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