THE senior Irish show jumping team kept up their excellent run of form in Nations Cup competitions this year when finishing second in the Longines EEF Series final in Warsaw, Poland, last Sunday.

Michael Blake’s team of Thomas Ryan (Springfield 21), Kevin Gallagher (Ballypatrick Flamenco), Trevor Breen (Germaine W) and Eoin McMahon (Chakra 9) were runners-up behind Italy after a brilliant performance at Warsaw’s Sluzewiec Racecourse.

It was a fitting ending to the second season of the series which was launched by the European Equestrian Federation (EEF) to an opportunity for young talented riders and horse and rider combinations to gain experience and improve their technique in top-level competitions.

After a first-round held mainly under the pouring rain, which did not however affect the outcome of rounds thanks to the arena’s excellent footing, Portugal, Spain, Austria, Germany, Italy and Ireland all lead the ranking on four faults.

Ryan got Ireland off to the perfect start aboard H3K Equestrian AB’s nine-year-old stallion Springfield 21 (Stakkato Gold x Classiker), before Gallagher and GBBC Int Ltd’s 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Ballypatrick Flamenco also produced a great clear round.

Breen faulted once with Mandy Hall’s 11-year-old gelding Germaine W (Eldorado vd Zeshoek x Armstrong) and so too did McMahon aboard the Ludger Beerbaum Stables-owned 12-year-old mare Chakra 9 (Casall x Quidam de Revel).

Double clear

The going was tougher however in the second round thanks to well-balanced technical difficulties posed by the 1.50m course, built by Italy’s Andrea Colombo.

Gallagher and the Noel Cawley-bred gelding produced another clear – one of just four double clears in the competition – and McMahon corrected his mistake from the first round to post a clear. However, eight faults from Ryan were discarded meaning Breen’s second round of four faults had to be counted and Ireland finished on a two-round total of eight.

Three clears from the Italian riders in round two meant they stayed on four faults to take victory. The team was made up of Riccardo Pisani (Charlemagne JT Z), Lorenzo De Luca who was double clear on Scuderia 1918 Highlight W, Emanuele Camilli (Chadellano) and Piergiorgio Bucci (Carpe Diem J&F Champblanc). Austria took the final podium place when finishing third on 12 faults. The other two double clears came from Austria’s Katharina Rhomberg (Cuma 5) and Portugal’s Duarte Seabra riding Dourados 2, owned by Kilkenny producer Carol Gee.

Alongside claiming the Series title, Italy has also earned promotion to the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup 2023 - Europe Division 1.

Breen speeds to victory

Trevor Breen landed a four-star win at the venue on Saturday when speeding to victory in the 1.45m Table C Speed and Handiness with the aptly named Gonzalo.

The pair were almost two seconds faster than the runner-up, Italy’s Francesca Ciriesi and Calotta 23, when posting the winning time of 60.67 seconds.

Anthony Condon was runner-up in Friday’s four-star 1.40m with the Stephanie Forde-bred Melins Victoire (Je t’Aime Flamenco x Cavalier Royale). They were clear in 58.84 seconds, just fractions slower than Italian winner Guido Franchi and Falanita (58.61). Condon and the nine-year-old gelding Merlins Victoire were third in an earlier class.

Offaly’s Darragh Kenny won the two-star Grand Prix at the Polish venue. He guided HKC Collection LLC’s 15-year-old mare to the fastest of six double clears in the 12-horse jump-off. The pair broke the beam in 36.88 seconds to win €5,480.