Ireland defends its title in four-star Nations’ Cup in Florida

Judy Reynolds finished fourth in Friday’s FEI Grand Prix in Dortmund, Germany

Ireland defended its title in the four-star Nations’ Cup in Wellington, Florida on Friday night when beating the USA and Brazil.

In the first round, where all the Irish jumped clear, Cork's Shane Sweetman, the team pathfinder, provided the discard score with a single time fault. This left Ireland on a zero score at the halfway stage alongside Brazil with the hosts back in third place on five faults.

In round two, Sweetnam had a pole down with Chaqui Z, as had Co Down's Conor Swail with Rubens LS La Silla. However, with clears again being recorded by Limerick's Paul O'Shea on Skara Glen's Machu Picchu and Meath's Cian O'Connor on Seringat, Ireland took the spoils on a two-round total of four faults.

The all-female USA squad, which included Chloe Reid on the Irish Sport Horse Codarco, a Darco 10-year-old bred in Co Galway by Thomas O’Brien, finished second on 13 faults with Brazil slipping to third on a total of 16.


"I'm a very proud Irishman, I'm absolutely delighted," said team manager Michael Blake, who also led the Irish squad to victory in Ocala two weeks ago.

“We came here to win and we went to Ocala to win. It’s very easy to win with these guys because they are really good. Basically, if you have a bit of a plan and tell them in time where they are going, they are going to turn up. That is what they did on both occasions.

“People asked why I changed the winning team from Ocala (leaving out Kevin Babington and Richie Moloney). I changed because I was looking at Paul and Conor and I think their form is fantastic. I didn’t think they were quite ready in time for Ocala, but I knew they would be ready now, and they were fantastic.”

Competing at five-star level in Dortmund, Germany, Ireland's Judy Reynolds finished fourth in Friday's FEI Grand Prix with her Rio Olympics mount, Vancouver K.

From a starting line-up of 15, the Kildare native achieved a score of 73.800% behind the German trio of Anabel Balkenhol on Dablino FRH (74.520), Jessica von Bredow-Werndl with Zaire-E (74.400) and Fabienne Lutkemeier on Fabregaz (74.020).

Reynolds and Vancouver K, a 15-year-old Jazz gelding owned by the rider’s parents Joe and Kathleen Reynolds, have been drawn third of six for Saturday night’s Grand Prix freestyle to music.