MICHAEL Blake’s Irish show jumping team of Galway’s Michael Duffy, Sligo’s Richard Howley, Mayo’s Michael G Duffy and Louth’s Mark McAuley have finished fourth of 14 teams in today’s (Friday) Czech Nations Cup in Prague.
Ireland looked set to make a good start to the first round when Michael Duffy was clear approaching the last part of the course with Zilton SL Z, who is owned by Katherine Duffy and HMF Equestrian. However the 10-year-old gelding lost his footing on landing after the third last fence, meaning Duffy had to circle and he would finish with four jumping and four time faults as a result.
Second in for Ireland, Sligo’s Richard Howley and Arlo De Blondel owned by Sarah Borthwick and HK Horses, picked up four faults at the very last fence and a time fault, before Mayo’s Michael G Duffy with Lapuccino 2 (ISH), owned by Carl Hanley Sporthorses, also finished with five faults.
Ireland’s anchor rider, Co Louth’s Mark McAuley with Jasco VD Bisschop owned by Scea La Tuiliere, then delivered a vital clear which meant Ireland would be one of the eight teams to make the cut for the second round.
The second round saw Ireland improve further. Duffy and Zilton SL Z finished with just a time fault second time out while Howley and Arlo De Blondel lowered a single fence for four faults.
Michael G Duffy and Lapuccino 2 added a perfect clear before McAuley completed his double clear performance with Jasco VD Bisschop. That left Ireland on a final score of 11 faults and just over a fence off winners Czech Republic who lifted the trophy on home soil on a final score of six faults. Denmark finished on eight faults to claim runner-up spot, while halfway leaders Belgium finished third on nine faults.
Speaking afterwards, Irish team manager Michael Blake said: “Firstly I want to congratulate the Czech team on a fantastic performance to take victory in their home Nations Cup. They are an up-and-coming team and today they fully deserved their win which is great for the sport.
“We recovered well in the second round with three of our riders not touching a pole and credit to the lads they dug in after a somewhat disappointing first round and we were the best team in the second round. The slip for Zilton SL Z proved costly as he looked like he was heading for a clear round but these things can happen.
“We have a very busy period ahead now with some important competitions in our preparations for the Olympics and European Championships and I want to thank all the riders, owners, grooms and connections for the support they once again gave in the lead up to this competition.”
Source: Horse Sport Ireland press release
The Irish Show Jumping team is sponsored by Devenish & The Underwriting Exchange
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