The Irish show jumping team get their 2019 Longines FEI Nations Cup campaign in Europe Division 1 underway at La Baule in France tomorrow (Friday) and team manager Rodrigo Pessoa has this afternoon selected his four team members from his five man squad, while Offaly's Darragh Kenny won the opening five-star 1.50m at the French venue.
Kenny took victory aboard Vlock Show Stables' nine-year-old gelding Billy Dorito after they finished clear in 67.15 seconds, taking the top prize of €7,000. Canada’s Eric Lamaze and Chacco Kid finished second in 67.31, while Cork’s Shane Sweetnam finished third with Alejandro in 68.44.
Ireland, sponsored by Devenish and The Underwriting Exchange, have been drawn first to jump of the eight teams that will take part at the French coastal venue and line out as follows:
Cork’s Shane Sweetnam with Indra Van De Oude Heihoef – owned by The Blue Buckle Group
Limerick’s Paul O’Shea with Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu – owned by Machu Picchu Partners LLC
Offaly’s Darragh Kenny with Balou Du Reventon – owned by Ann Thompson
Meath’s Cian O’Connor with Irenice Horta – owned by Ronnoco Jump Ltd
Ireland finished in the top two in four of their five points-scoring Nations Cup rounds in 2018, on their way to a second place finish on the league table. La Baule will be Ireland’s first of four opportunities to gain points in Europe’s top division this year and is followed by Sopot in Poland, Hickstead in England and Ireland’s home Nations Cup in Dublin.
What promises to be an exciting afternoon of jumping in La Baule, will see Ireland followed into the arena by Canada, Germany, France, Belgium, Britain, Brazil and Switzerland. The competition starts at 1pm Irish time and is live on FEITV.
Meanwhile Ireland will also field a team tomorrow in the three-star FEI Nations cup at Drammen in Norway where Shane Carey will be Ireland’s chef d’equipe.
The Irish team for the Drammen Nations Cup is as follows:
Kilkenny’s Susan Fitzpatrick with Fellow Castlefield – owned by Sharon Fitzpatrick
Laois’s Aidan Killeen with Fair Play – owned by H.P.J. Verdellen
Kilkenny’s Ger O’Neill with Castlefield Vegas (ISH) – owned by Martin Egan
Tyrone’s Jenny Rankin with Bennys Legacy – owned by Deirdre Bourns