IRISH development chef d'equipe Michael Blake named his team for Saturday's four-star Wellington Nations Cup at a special reception for owners and supporters of the Irish show jumping team on Wednesday evening at Trawney Farms, Wellington, Florida in the USA.
The Irish team, sponsored by Devenish and The Underwriting Exchange, is:
Derry’s Daniel Coyle with Farona owned by Ariel Grange
Down’s Lorcan Gallagher with Hunters Conlypso II, owned by the Dacantos Group
Limerick’s Paul O’Shea with Imerald Van’t Voorhof, owned by Tequestrian Farms LLC
Cork’s Shane Sweetman with Kirschwasser SCF, owned by Spy Coast Farm LLC
Ireland finished as runners-up in the Wellington Nations Cup last year having previously taken victory in 2016 and 2017 and development team manager Michael Blake is confident of another good result.
“We will be expecting a podium finish while hoping for a win. We are trying out a few new combinations and all the horses are jumping in their first Nations Cup. My job obviously is development and if you don’t experiment then you don’t develop so I hope I have made the correct choices and that these guys are ready. If we go with the same horses and the same riders in every Nations Cup then we can’t grow and we can’t expand," Blake said.
The Wellington Nations Cup in Florida gets underway at 12 midnight Irish time this Saturday.
A special presentation was made to Lisa Lourie from Spy Coast Farm, for her contribution to the industry and the immense support she has shown to Irish rider Shane Sweetnam.
Lisa Lourie with Rodrigo Pessoa (left) and Shane Sweetnam