THE Underwriting Exchange Irish show jumping team finished second in the CSIO4* Sharjah FEI Longines Nations Cup on Sunday. The Irish team, led by Horse Sport Ireland Show Jumping High Performance Manager Michael Blake, finished on a team score of 14. The 1.50m Four-Star Nations Cup had a total of seven teams competing, with Britain emerging as winners, finishing on a team total of six.

This is the second Nations Cup to have taken place this year and it is also the second Nations Cup Ireland has had a podium finish in - the same personnel were second in the CSIO5* Nations Cup in Abu Dhabi.

The Irish team, sponsored by The Underwriting Exchange, was as follows:

1. Michael Duffy riding Cinca 3, owned by Hibernian Sport Horses Ltd.

2. Jessica Burke riding Nikey HH, owned by Liam Nicholas.

3. Shane Breen riding Cuick Star Kervec, owned by Breen Equestrian Ltd & Quirke Sport Horses Ltd.

4. Trevor Breen riding Germaine W, owned by Mandy Hall.

Podium finish

Horse Sport Ireland High Performance Manager Michael Blake said: “We secured another podium finish today. We are disappointed not to take the win but Great Britain outperformed us on the day and many congratulations to them. Our horses all jumped well and learned from the experience they are all new combinations at this level but we didn’t jump enough clear rounds and clear rounds win Nations Cups. Once again we are very grateful to the owners who time and time again make their horses available to us and to all who work so hard to produce the horses."

Duffy started the first round with a score of 75.01 seconds and two faults. He then went onto round two with a score of 73.43 seconds and zero faults. When speaking about the performance, Duffy said: "We’re happy to finish second today with a strong performance by the team and I’m thrilled with Cinca 3 owned by Hibernia Horses, which is a new venture with some great people involved.

"She’s new to my stables with this UAE tour being our first outing. Unfortunately, being just over a second outside the time allowed kept us from producing a double clear, but overall, very happy and looking forward to the season ahead with this mare.”

Burke had a score of 72.25 seconds in round one along with four faults and this round did not count towards the total score. She finished round two with 72.83 seconds and four faults.

Shane Breen had a score of 72.43 seconds and zero faults for round one. He finished round two in 73.26 seconds and four faults with this round not counting towards to total score.

Trevor Breen had a score of 70.74 seconds and four faults for round one. He finished round two in 72.47 seconds and four faults. He said: "I'm delighted with the team performance tonight. We gave it our all but unfortunately came up just short against a very good British team.

"It’s always an honour wearing the green jacket. It’s an unbelievable start to the season being able to showcase the less experienced Nations Cup horses so early on in the year and it is really what sets us up for the year ahead. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season for Horse Sport Ireland.”

The Irish Show Jumping team is sponsored by The Underwriting Exchange

Charles Ancona – Official athlete clothing supplier to HSI’s Senior Olympic programmes

Source: Horse Sport Ireland press release