Equestrian: Shanghai Swans claim Champions League Super Cup

Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam among team who claimed €2 million prize

Shane Sweetnam was among the Shanghai Swans team which won the Champions League Super Cup. Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images for FEI

Shane Sweetnam was among the Shanghai Swans team which won the Champions League Super Cup. Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images for FEI

 

Three Irish riders - Darragh Kenny, Mark McAuley and Cian O’Connor - competed in Sunday’s final of the five-star Global Champions League Super Cup in the O2 Arena in Prague but it was Shane Sweetnam who was among those who shared the winning team’s prize of over €2 million.

The Co Cork native, riding his own and Spy Coast Farm’s Chaqui Z, had jumped for the Shanghai Swans when they qualified in fourth place in Friday’s semi-final. However, having competed in the Longines Global Champions Tour individual Super Grand Prix on Saturday night, he watched on as Sweden’s Peder Fredricson (H&M Christian K), Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer (Cortney Cox) and Germany’s Daniel Deusser (Jasmien vd Bisschop), who were lying third of six going into the final, came out on top.

The trio completed the €6.4 million two-round competition on a score of 12 faults ahead of the Monaco Aces (21) and last year’s winners, Madrid In Motion (24) whose team on Sunday included Co Louth’s Mark McAuley with SCEA Kalimba’s Vivaldu du Theil. Co Offaly’s Darragh Kenny partnered Ann Thompson’s Romeo 88 on the fifth-placed Paris Panthers team (28) while Co Meath’s Cian O’Connor, riding Ronnoco Jump’s PSG Final, was a member of Valkenswaard United who finished last of the six but, as a squad, still pocketed over €400,000.

Meanwhile, competing with his young horses at two-star level at Lier in Belgium, another Valkenswaard squad member, Co Wexford’s Bertram Allen, finished second with Go To Fortuna (35.28) in Sunday evening’s 1.45m Grand Prix. The winner was none other than Allen’s younger brother Harry (18) who stopped the clock on 35.25 with Izzy By Picobello. In the earlier class for seven-year-old horses, Bertram had finished first with the Irish Sport Horse gelding Pacino Amiro while Harry had to settle for second on Harmonie L.

Co Mayo’s Jonathan Gordon rounded off his week at the two-star show in Valencia, Spain with a fourth-place finish in Sunday’s 1.45m Grand Prix on his own eight-year-old Kannan gelding, Sunny (41.40). Ten riders recorded double clears in the 58-runner class which was won by Belgium’s Thierry Goffinet with Cadet du Ruisseau Z (41.05).

The country’s pony riders fared best of the large Irish contingent which competed in the under-age show at Lichtenvoorde, The Netherlands over the weekend. On Saturday evening, Max Foley (Valma de Fougnard), Timmy Brennan (Glor Tire Cruise), Amy Reape (Massaqua T) and Katie Power (Carrigeen Moores) won the team competition. On Sunday afternoon, Foley won the 1.30m pony Grand Prix when recording the only double clear on Valma de Fougnard.

At home, Jonathan Smyth won Saturday’s leg of the Show Jumping Ireland autumn Grand Prix series at Portmore Equestrian Centre on Ann Doherty’s nine-year-old Silvano gelding Crystal Tom (36.49) while placing second with Charlton Clio (37.01).

Horse Sport Ireland has advertised for a new high-performance jumping director to replace Rodrigo Pessoa and has set a deadline of Friday, December 6th for applications. Details can be found on the HSI website (www.horsesportireland.ie/about/vacancies).

The successful applicant, for whom the main focus will be on “the immediate planning and delivery of supports” for next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games, will report directly to Ronan Murphy, chief executive officer of HSI, and will operate under a contract for services agreement until November 1st, 2020.

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