Ireland take second at first Nations Cup of the season
Shane Breen encountered problems in the jump-off as New Zealand took the title
Shane Breen lost out in the jump-off for Ireland. Photo: Getty Images
The first Longines FEI show jumping Nations’ Cup of the season took place on Saturday in Abu Dhabi where, following a jump-off, Ireland finished second to New Zealand who recorded their first Nations’ Cup success.
In the deciding round, New Zealand’s Samantha McIntosh was first to go against the clock and she recorded a third individual clear with the 15-year-old stallion Check In. Shane Breen and Team 27’s Laith had gone clear for Ireland in round one but, with eight faults, the combination provided the discard score in round two. Unfortunately, in the jump-off, they had a problem at fence three and finished with 17 faults.
The other Irish team members were Cameron Hanley on Aiyetoro, David Simpson who recorded a double clear with Julia Cruden’s Keoki (earning €25,000 for that feat) and Paul Kennedy on his mother Jane’s homebred mare Cartown Danger Mouse.
“Obviously when you get into a jump-off and don’t win you are going to be disappointed but it’s a good start to the season and plenty of positives,” said Ireland’s chef d’Equipe in Abu Dhabi, Taylor Vard.
“All our guys rode really well and a special mention to David Simpson and Keoki for a double clear round. They jumped well at their last show and the horse is obviously coming into form. We had opportunities to win in the second round but it just didn’t happen. Shane and Laith were by far our most experienced combination and that’s why they went in the jump-off but it didn’t work out. I want to congratulate the New Zealand team on their win which was well deserved.”
The second leg of the Longines FEI Nations’ Cup series takes place on Sunday in Ocala, Florida where Ireland bids to repeat last year’s success. Horse Sport Ireland’s development team manager, Michael Blake, has named his quartet as Daniel Coyle (Cita), Paul O’Shea (Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu), Darragh Kenny (Go Easy de Muze) and Cian O’Connor (Clenur).