Ireland eye another golden RDS moment

The Irish team will take to the stage in today’s Furusiyya Series nations cup at the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show aiming to continue some stellar performances by the home contingent.

The subplot, though, sees places on the team to represent Ireland at the European Championships in Aachen, Germany, in less than a fortnight at stake.

Ireland manager Robert Splaine confirmed this yesterday, as he selected world number five Bertram Allen (Romanov), Dublin nations cup debutant Greg Broderick (MHS Going Global), Cian O’Connor (Good Luck) and Darragh Kenny (Sans Soucis Z) for today’s contest, with Conor Swail (Grand Cru vd Vijf Eiken) on the sidelines.

“The five riders in Dublin and Denis Lynch... the squad for the Europeans will more than likely come from those six. Dublin Horse Show is akin to a championships in terms of fence dimensions and course technicality, plus the show atmosphere. If we find one or two flaws, so be it. It gives us a chance to work on them. That’s all good,” said the Corkman, acutely conscious that, if he is to lead a team at Rio de Janeiro next year, Ireland must finish the Europeans in the top three countries not already qualified for the Olympics.

“We have five very accomplished riders on the Dublin squad. Four know what Friday is about, having jumped previously. Greg Broderick is the exception, but his results to date are special. “If they can produce their best form, in keeping with what they have done previously, we have as good a chance as anybody,” said Splaine, who pointed out that while Allen’s top mount, Molly Malone V, was not in Dublin, “she does not need to prove anything, she’s been to Aachen, and had a great result in France last week”.

Ireland are currently joint second-last in the 10-country Europe Division One of the Furusiyya Series and a good result is necessary if they are to be among the seven to qualify for next month’s lucrative final in Barcelona.

On 205 points with Italy, both countries are among the five bidding for points today along with Britain, Spain and Switzerland.

Eight countries line out in the RDS and Ireland were not favoured in yesterday’s draw, being first into the fray, led by 20-year-old Allen.

Ireland’s lowly position resulted in a poor start in Belgium, but good results in Switzerland and France gave some indication of the potential in the squad.

Splaine rejected that being one from the bottom of the table made for an extra complication.

“No, no extra pressure. We will still be fielding the strongest team available to us, bearing in mind that the championships fall in 10 days time and everything is geared towards putting out the best possible team in Aachen.

“Dublin would be the last chance, realistically, for riders and horses to prove themselves. Obviously, a plan has been in place to arrive at this point.

“However, no country has named their championship squad yet, which, with big and important competitions to jump this weekend, would be impossible to do.

“Any nation that has been allocated or has chosen Dublin as a point-scoring venue have some riders present here who are going to be part of their championships squad, but the teams are always strong in Dublin.”

Dermott Lennon helped Ireland to a whitewash in the international classes on Wednesday and the Co Down rider took first blood yesterday with Vampire in The Speed Derby. The former world champion beat Cork’s Billy Twomey, who, with Ardcolum Duke, provided the second fastest of the competitions’ three clear rounds, with the third coming from Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat on Albfuehren’s Memphis.

The Irish run was ended in the Serpentine Speed Stakes by Italian Emanuele (Cocoshynsky), who had a massive four-and-a-half seconds to spare over Wexford’s Bertram Allen on Quiet Easy 4, with Cian O’Connor and Coco II finishing third.

Paul O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu ensured the return of Irish supremacy in the feature Anglesea Stakes jump-off class, the Limerick native providing the faster of only two double clears in the contest, with the other delivered by Germany’s Patrick Stuhlmeyer on Caramba 70.

Tipperary’s Denis Lynch had the fastest of the four-fault rounds to take third with Abbervail van het Dingeshof.

  • The Alex Ott Appeal benefitted last Sunday to the tune of €10,000, courtesy of the Showjumping Ireland Injured Athlete’s Fund.

Ott suffered catastrophic injuries to his C5 vertebrae and severely damaged his spine while exercising a horse close to his home in Meelin, near Newmarket, Co Cork.

The money was presented by SJI chairman Tony Hurley to Alex Ott Appeal trustee David O’Meara at last Sunday’s Blackrock Charity Show, held at Kilguilkey House, near Mallow.

  • Dressage fans have reason to be excited about this next week’s European Championships in Aachen, with the announcement yesterday that Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K will be flying the Irish flag.

Reynolds is now ranked 52nd in the world — a rise of 71 places in six months — after a string of impressive results.


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