AN impressive performance from Michael Blake’s Irish show jumping team of Daniel Coyle, Denis Lynch, Trevor Breen and Shane Sweetnam saw them claim third place on the podium in the Longines FEI Nations Cup of The Netherlands in Rotterdam when they finished on a total score of eight faults in a time of 204.02 seconds.

The host nation of Maikel Van Der Vleuten (Beauville Z), Shane Thijssen (Con Quidam RB), Willem Greve (Grandorado TN) and Harrie Smolders (Monaco) took a definitive victory when finishing on zero faults in the third leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2022 Europe Division 1. Rotterdam was Ireland’s second of four opportunities to gain points in Europe’s top division, and this result has moved Ireland up to fifth place on the league table with 150 points.

Perfect start

First to go in the opening round, Derry’s Daniel Coyle who was riding the Ariel Grange-owned Legacy gave the team the perfect start as they came home clear in a good time.

Tipperary’s Denis Lynch, who was riding the Molly Ohrstrom-owned Brooklyn Heights, picked up four faults at the very last double. Fellow Tipperary rider, Trevor Breen and the Heather Black-owned Highland President, also had a fence down on the last line to finish on four faults.

Cork’s Shane Sweetnam was last to go for Ireland in the first round with the Irish Sport Horse James Kann Cruz and the Gizmo Partners-owned gelding delivered a brilliant clear round to keep Ireland well in contention.

At the halfway mark, France, Sweden, Ireland and Germany were only a fence off the leaders and despite the withdrawal of Roger Yves Bost’s Cassius Clay VDV Z, the French held on for runner-up spot, although only the clock separated them from the Irish in third when both sides finished with just eight faults.

A second sensational clear from Simon Delestre and Cayman Jolly Jumper kept Team France in the frame. And when Kevin Staut and Scuderia 1918 Viking d’La Rousserie followed suit, they only had to count a single error from Gregory Cottard and Bibici, and their joint team time of 204.02 squeezed the Irish down to third by just over two seconds.

Foot-perfect performances from pathfinder Daniel Coyle with Legacy and anchorman Shane Sweetnam with the nine-year-old gelding James Kann Cruz meant only one of the four-fault results from Denis Lynch (Brooklyn Heights) and Trevor Breen (Highland President) had to be counted by the Irish, so this put the pressure on the rest going into the final stages.

Last Thursday, Denis Lynch took fifth place in the AON 1.55m, when he was one of 23 clears aboard Cristello in a time of 74.58secs. One place behind was Shane Sweetnam and Alejandro when they stopped the clock in 74.67.