Equestrian: Team Ireland sit 10th of 25 in North Carolina

Shane Sweetnam lays down good marker despite being first of 124 riders to jump off

The Irish team are lying 10th of 25 following Wednesday’s opening 1.55m speed class of the show jumping competition at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina.

On a converted score of 10.12 penalties, Ireland are less than one fence off the medal positions which, at this early stage, are held by Switzerland (2.64), Netherlands (4.35) and Brazil (6.42).

Cork’s Shane Sweetnam was the first to jump from a start list of 124 riders and he put down an excellent marker when clear with Chaqui Z (80.19 seconds). In contrast, the winner, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, was second-last to jump with Bianca (76.33).

On converted scores, Guerdat is on zero ahead of Brazil’s Pedro Veniss with Quabri de l’Isle (0.17) and Australia’s Ronan Willis on Blue Movie (0.31). Sweetnam is on 1.93.

Meath’s Cian O’Connor (Good Luck) is on 2.69, Limerick’s Paul O’Shea (Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu) on 5.50 and Tipperary’s Shane Breen (Ipswich van de Wolfsakker) is on 5.96. All three had a fence down.

The second round of the competition takes place on Thursday after which the top 10 teams go through to Friday’s round to decide the team medals. The top six teams will earn Olympic qualification.