THE Irish Show Jumping team lined out for the four-star Nations Cup at Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, with the team of Kildare’s Mikey Pender with HHS Calais (ISH); Tipperary’s Shane Breen with Z7 Ipswich; Cork’s Billy Twomey with Diego del Caribe and Derry’s David Simpson with Pjotr van de Kruishoeve. Ireland was drawn third to jump of the eight teams competing.

First in for the Irish team was Kildare’s Mikey Pender riding HHS Calais (ISH), bred in Co Kilkenny by Ita Brennan, and they jumped clear. This 13-year-old gelding is by Cavalier Royale (HOLST) out of MHS OBOS Cruise (ISH) by OBOS Quality (OLD) and is owned by Bravo Hughes Ltd.

Tipperary’s Shane Breen with Z7 Ipswich ended on eight faults, while Cork’s Billy Twomey on Diego del Caribe incurred 12 faults, which was the discard score. Last to jump, Derry’s David Simpson on Pjotr van de Kruishoeve had one fence down, which left Ireland on 12 faults at the halfway point and in third place behind the UAE on a zero score and Germany on four faults.

The UAE’s clean sheet was helped along by Irish-bred BBS McGregor (ISH), bred in Kilkenny by Marguerite Ryan and now ridden by Abdullah Mohd Al Marri, who jumped clear. This 12-year-old gelding is by Cardento (HOLST) out of Random Chance (ISH) by Mark Twain (TB) and was formerly ridden by Jack Ryan. He was certainly on form at Sharjah and jumped another clear second time out, which helped the UAE team maintain their zero score to claim a home victory, while Germany were runners-up with five faults.

Ireland ended up in fifth place on 32 faults, with Pender’s first round clear being the team’s only fault-free round.

The show got underway last Thursday, when Shane Breen rode six-year-old bay gelding Z7 Pink Panther to place fifth in the one-star Young Horse Two-Phase class.

Friday saw Mikey Pender on Chacco Bay place ninth in the four-star 1.45m class, while Breen and Z7 Pink Panther bettered their previous result when they were runners-up in the day’s one-star Young Horse class.

On Saturday, Trevor Breen on Luidam’s Warrior came 10th in the four-star 1.50m Jump-Off class.

Sunday started well, with Irish riders on form in the four-star 1.45m Jump-Off class, where second, third and fourth places went to Michael Pender on Chacco Bay; Shane Breen on Scarteen and David Simpson on Billy Piccadilly respectively.

Doha win

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Mayo’s Lee Carey won the two-star 1.20m Immediate Jump-Off class at the third leg of the Doha Tour 2024 at the world-class Al Shaqab Equestrian Centre in Doha. Carey rode Careful Habibty, a 10-year-old bay Swedish Warmblood mare, in a class where, out of 64 starters, only 11 jumped clear to make it through to the jump-off.

The pair jumped clear again and they finished a mere 0.05 seconds ahead of German runner-up, Marc Bettinger with Dukhan 3.

Irish equestrian commentator Paul Nolan was there to congratulate Carey and to interview him for television!

Other Irish connections were also in attendance – read more on page 100.