THE Underwriting Exchange Ireland show jumping squad has been named for next week's FEI European Jumping Championship.
Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) show jumping High Performance Director Michael Blake has selected a squad of proven stars, in-form partnerships and up-and-coming combinations for the championship in Milano, Italy, as Ireland bid to go one better than in the recent Nations Cup of Ireland for the Aga Khan Trophy.
Two combinations from the Dublin Nations Cup remain in the squad, with Shane Sweetnam partnering James Kann Cruz (ISH) and Michael Duffy on board Cinca 3.
They will join Denis Lynch with Vistogrand, Trevor Breen with Highland President and Eoin McMahon with Mila as Blake bids to continue an excellent season and emulate Ireland's European Championship win in 2017.
16 nations will bid for glory in what is sure to be an ultra-competitive team competition, but Blake is confident of another strong showing from his squad. "We have been so consistent all year, right back since the very start of the season," he said. "While we obviously wanted to win in Dublin, it was still a very creditable result to be second and I'm looking forward now to Milano with what I feel is a strong squad.
"Shane and James Kann Cruz have been fantastic all year and are one of the best combinations in the world - plus they didn't need to jump a second round in Dublin having gone clear in the first round so the horse will be nice and fresh.
"Michael and Cinca 3 were also very good at Dublin, especially in the second round when jumping a very important clear round for the team, so I'm expecting another excellent performance from them. Denis is a very experienced member of Irish squads and was on the winning team in Rome this year.
"Trevor comes in on Highland President having placed in the big Grand Prix in Dublin too so they're coming back to the boil, while Eoin's mare is really talented and has been performing well at five-star level. So I'm excited - it will obviously be very tough. 16 strong teams line up but we are very strong ourselves and I'm hoping for a good showing."
The Underwriting Exchange Irish squad for the FEI European Jumping Championship in Milano, taking place on August 29th-September 3rd is as follows, in alphabetical order:
James Kann Cruz (ISH) – 2013 gelding by Kannan (KWPN) out of CSF Telly Cruz (ISH) by Cruising (ISH). Breeder: Patrick Connolly. Owner: Gizmo Partners LLC. Rider: Shane Sweetnam (IRL).