Equestrian: Ireland drop two spots at Europeans in Rotterdam
Waterford’s Peter Moloney and Offaly’s Darragh Kenny finished best of the Irish
A disappointing second day’s performance saw Ireland slip two places to eighth at the European show jumping championships in Rotterdam and, significantly, to last of those nations bidding to secure three Olympic qualifying slots.
Thursday’s competition saw Waterford’s Peter Moloney (Chianti’s Champion) and Offaly’s Darragh Kenny (Balou Du Reventon) finish best of the Irish with a fence down apiece. Cork native Shane Sweetnam was clear over the first half of the course with Alejandro but finished with 12 faults while Meath’s Cian O’Connor once again provided the discard score with PSG Final. The team finished on a score of 30.36.
With three clear rounds, Belgium, who are also seeking Olympic qualification, jumped up from eighth to take over the lead on a score of 11.07 ahead of the early pacemakers, Germany (12.22). Great Britain, who are also hoping to bag a ticket to Tokyo, are third on 13.41 while France is currently occupying the final Olympic spot in fourth (17.39). Italy, who are also bidding for a place in next year’s Games, are in sixth (26.74).
In the individual standings which are led by Britain’s Ben Maher on Explosion W (0.62), Kenny is best of the Irish in 12th (5.78) and is just over one fence outside the medal places with three more rounds of jumping to come. Moloney lies in 19th place (8.75) and will be hoping to be among those who will qualify for Sunday’s individual final. Friday’s team final in Rotterdam gets underway at 2pm Irish time.
After two days of competition in the European para dressage championships, which are also taking place in Rotterdam, the host nation is firmly at the head of the medal table with two golds, a silver and a bronze. The championships now have two days of team competition ahead. Ireland is represented by three riders - Michael Murphy (Skjoldsgaard Hippovo), Rosemary Gaffney (Werona) and Tamsin Addison (Donna Siesta).
Meanwhile, the country’s highest-rated dressage rider, Kildare-born Judy Reynolds, set another Irish international Grand Prix Special record on Thursday evening when achieving a score of 78.252% at the European championships in Rotterdam.
Riding her Rio Olympics mount, Vancouver K, the 17-year-old Jazz gelding owned by her parents, Joe and Kathleen, Germany-based Reynolds finished fifth in the 30-strong class. Isabell Werth and Dorothee Schneider, who were members of Germany’s gold medal-winning team on Tuesday, took gold and silver here on Bella Rose (86.520) and Showtime FRH (85.456) respectively with Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour claiming the bronze medal on Atterupgaards Cassidy (81.337).