JUST over four months after being crowned 2019 Longines FEI Nations Cup World Champions in dramatic fashion in Barcelona (ESP), Ireland get the defense of their title underway in the United States on Sunday at Deeridge Farm, Wellington in Florida.
Ireland have been drawn seventh to jump of eight teams that will do battle, and Michael Blake has named a team that includes three of the four riders that helped Ireland to lift the Nations Cup final winners trophy last season, a result which of course secured Olympic qualification for the boys in green.
Ireland will be up against teams from Mexico, USA, Great Britain, Israel, Australia, Canada and a Brazilian team that includes former Irish team manager Rodrigo Pessoa.
The Irish team for the Wellington Nations Cup will line-out as follows:
Michael Blake will be hoping to continue Ireland’s impressive record in the Wellington Nations Cup, having taken victory in 2016 and 2017, along with runner-up finishes in 2018 and 2019 when Blake was in charge as Irish assistant manager.
The Wellington Nations Cup in Deeridge is the first of the three qualifiers in the North/Central America and Caribbean League. The action then moves to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for the single qualifier for the Middle East region later this month. May will see round two of the America/Caribbean series, at Coapexpan in Mexico, followed by the first leg of Europe Division 1 at La Baule in France which is Ireland’s first points-scoring outing in Europe Division 1.
Live on FEITV
Tomorrow’s Longines FEI Nations Cup at Deeridge in Wellington starts at 6.30pm Irish time and is live on FEITV.
Irish riders have been in good form already in Wellington, with Cork’s Billy Twomey taking a runner-up finish in Friday’s $213,300 Longines Grand Prix with Kimba Flamenco.
Twomey took the lead in the jump-off when posting a clear in 38.29 seconds, which was eventually narrowly overtaken by McLain Ward (USA) and Noche de Ronda (37.86).
“I wanted to try to put it up to the other riders, my horse is naturally a fast horse. McLain’s horse obviously has a really big step, and he was able to leave out [a stride in the first bending line], and he probably ended up a little faster than me there,” said the Irish rider.
“I’m really happy with the way my horse performed; he always seemed in good shape.”
The Irish Show Jumping team is sponsored by Devenish & The Underwriting Exchange
Equiline – Official athlete clothing supplier of Team Ireland Equestrian
Source: Horse Sport Ireland press release