THE Irish eventing team got its preparations for this year’s Olympic Games in Rio off to an excellent start, scoring a podium finish at the Fontainebleau Nations Cup in France today (Sunday).
Having moved up three places on Saturday after the cross-country phase, Ireland held onto its overnight third place position after the final Show Jumping competition.
Clear rounds from Cathal Daniels with Rioghan Rua (ISH) and Claire Abbott riding Euro Prince (ISH), along with four fault scores from Jonty Evans aboard Cooley Rorkes Drift (ISH) and Austin O’Connor riding Kilpatrick Knight (ISH)(TIH), saw Ireland hold off a strong challenge from Australia who had to settle for fourth.
A strong German side collected the winner’s prize ahead of the home team from France in second. Jonty Evans finished as the highest-placed Irish rider on the individual standings in 11th place, with German Olympic Gold medallist Micheal Jung taking the winner’s trophy with La Biosthetique Sam.
Speaking afterwards, Irish team manager Nick Turner said: “I am delighted with how all our Irish riders performed here this week. We had a record number of Irish competitors with our four team members and the individuals and this is a great start to the season.
I was particularly pleased for all the owners and it was great for Irish breeding that the Nations Cup team was made up of four Irish Sport Horses. This was a very tough competition and hotly contested and it’s a great boost for us to finish on the podium ahead of the Olympics later this year.”