Condon goes clear to clinch Nations Cup victory at Hickstead

Ireland pip Britain in jump-off to go third overall and earn place in Barcelona final

Trevor Breen in action in 2010. He helped Ireland to victory at Hickstead on Sunday. File photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Trevor Breen in action in 2010. He helped Ireland to victory at Hickstead on Sunday. File photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

The Irish senior showjumping team won the Longines FEI Nations’ Cup of Britain at Hickstead on Sunday with the result, which followed a jump-off, moving Ireland up to third place on the league table and, in the process, guaranteeing the team a place in the final in Barcelona.

Ireland were level with Britain at the halfway stage on eight faults. Tipperary’s Trevor Breen looked to be heading for a clear round with Bombay when first to jump, before the last fence fell to leave him with four faults. Kilkenny’s Richie Moloney jumped a perfect clear with Freestyle De Muse, while Galway’s Michael Duffy (EFS Top Contender) and Waterford’s Anthony Condon (SFS Aristio) both finished with a fence down apiece.

Breen repeated his four-fault score second time out, before Moloney also came home with a single error. Ireland were coming under real pressure from Britain, especially when Amanda Derbyshire jumped clear with the Irish Sport Horse mare Luibanta BH.

Duffy then delivered a vital clear which guaranteed Rodrigo Pessoa’s team at least a jump-off. Condon could win it with a clear when last to go, but he had an early rail down and knowing he could not improve Ireland’s 16 fault total, he decided to retire and save his horse for the jump-off to follow.

Holly Smith was selected to go against the clock for Britain with Hearts Destiny and put down a tough target when jumping clear in 43.39 seconds. Condon set off at a good pace with the John Hales-owned Aristio and was in touch midway through the round. Aristio, a long-striding son of Arko, made up ground down to the last with Condon coming home clear in 41.29 seconds to claim victory.

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