AFTER an eight-week break since their last points-scoring round in the Longines FEI Nations Cup series at La Baule, France, Rodrigo Pessoa’s Irish show jumping team returns to action this weekend at Falsterbo, Sweden.
The Nations Cup of Sweden will be the first of what promises to be three intensive weeks of five-star Nations Cup competition for Team Ireland Equestrian, also set to field teams at Aachen in Germany and Hickstead in Britain.
The Irish squad, sponsored by Devenish and The Underwriting Exchange, for the Swedish Nations Cup in Falsterbo is as follows:
Wexford’s Bertram Allen with Gin Chin Van Het Lindenhof – owned by Ballywalter Bloodstock
Louth’s Mark McAuley with Utchan De Belheme – owned by Charlotte McAuley
Derry’s Daniel Coyle with Cita – owned by Ariel Grange
Limerick’s Paul O’Shea with Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu – owned by Skara Glen Stables, Whipstick Farm, P. Hurter & P. Agnew
Cork’s Billy Twomey with Kimba Flamenco – owned by Kim Barzilay
Rodrigo Pessoa will name his four team members for Sunday’s Swedish Nations Cup later this week, and as the countdown continues to this September’s World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA, Pessoa is looking forward to seeing many different Irish combinations jumping at the top level over the coming weeks.
“This is the first of a triple-header for us [Falsterbo, followed by Aachen and Hickstead]. It will be three busy weeks where we will see a lot of different horses perform. Our goal of course this year is the World Equestrian Games in Tryon but we also want to secure qualification for the Nations Cup World Final in Barcelona,” Pessoa said.
Ireland began their 2018 Nations Cup Division 1 campaign with a second place finish in the opening round at Samorin in Slovakia back in April. followed by a sixth place finish at La Baule, France, in May. Each team can compete at five of the eight qualifying rounds in Europe Division 1, with Ireland opting to miss St Gallen (SUI), Sopot (POL) and Rotterdam (NED) and instead turn their attention to the last three rounds in Falsterbo (SWE), Hickstead (GBR) and at Dublin where they will bid to lift the Aga Khan trophy. Following Dublin, the top seven of the 10 teams competing in Europe Division 1 will qualify for October’s World Final in Barcelona.
Ireland currently lie in eighth place on the league table. However many of the teams ahead of Ireland on the standings have limited chances of adding to their points tally. Third-placed Germany have already completed their five points-scoring rounds, while Belgium Switzerland, France and Spain all have just one more points-scoring round remaining.
DUBLIN HORSE SHOW
Meanwhile with just over four weeks to go before the start of the Dublin Horse Show, the list of teams who will battle for the Aga Khan Trophy has been confirmed. The Netherlands, Italy, France, Switzerland, Britain and Ireland will be bidding for Europe Division 1 league points and they will be joined by teams from Mexico and the USA who will also be looking to get their hands on the world famous trophy.
The 2018 Dublin Horse Show begins on August 8th, with the Longines FEI Nations Cup for the Aga Khan Trophy retaining its traditional Friday slot during the biggest week of the Irish equestrian calendar.
(The Irish Show Jumping Team is sponsored by The Underwriting Exchange and Devenish. Equiline is the Official athlete clothing supplier of Team Ireland Equestrian)