MICHEL Blake’s Irish show jumping team finished fifth in the five-star Nations Cup at Knokke in Belgium last Friday.

Blake picked the experienced combinations of Bertram Allen, Cian O’Connor and Denis Lynch, alongside five-star first-timer Max Wachman who gave a wonderful display to jump clear in the first round.

Bertram Allen guided Aiden McGrory’s Irish Sport Horse Pacino Amiro (Pacino x NC Amiro) to two four-fault rounds. The pair were most unlucky to knock the final fence in the second round when on track for a clear round.

Cian O’Connor rode Susan Magnier’s C Vier to four faults in the first round – again caught out by the last fence – but came back to jump a perfect clear second time out. Wachman, jumping his first five-star Nations Cup, was best of the Irish in the first round with a fabulous clear about Coolmore Showjumping’s Berlux Z, and was only caught out by the bogey last fence in the second round to impress Irish selectors. The 18-year-old is competing at the Young Rider European Championships in Oliva this weekend.

Denis Lynch was the anchor man with Cristello was the drop score in both rounds after an awkward distance to the water left the horse unsettled.

Ireland finished on a two-round total of 17 faults while Belgium, Sweden, France and The Netherlands all finished on eight faults and went forward to a jump-off. In the end, Franchman Julien Epaillard edged out Sweden’s Peder Fredricson with a brilliant clear in 33.89 seconds to secure victory for France. Sweden were runner-up, ahead of Belgium in third and The Netherlands in fourth place.

O’Connor, Allen and Lynch (with Brooklyn Heights) have since been named on the team for the FEI World Championships in Herning next month, alongside Darragh Kenny (VDl Cartello) and the non travelling reserve Trevor Breen (Highland President).

Wachman finished third in Sunday’s two-star Grand Prix aboard Ikaros when one of 12 clears against the clock. Victory went to Luxembourg’s Charlotte Bettendorf with Babacool.

Denis Lynch placed fourth in Friday’s five-star 1.50m jump-off class aboard the experienced 16-year-old stallion Rubens LS La Silla when producing one of 10 double clears against the clock. Germany’s Daiel Deusser claimed victory with Jasmien vd Bisschop.

Sweden’s Peder Fredricson and his Tokyo gold and silver medal-winning mount H&M All In won Sunday’s 1.60m five-star Grand Prix in front of a packed house at the seaside venue. He took home the top prize of €165,000, ahead of Brazil’s Bernardo Alves in second place with Mosito van het Hellehof. The only other clear came from The Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten with his bronze medal winner Beauville.