TOM Wachman ended a superb week at the Nations Cup show in Peelbergen, The Netherlands, by finishing second in the CSIO3* Grand Prix on Sunday with his grandmother Susan Magnier’s Rock of Cashel. Two days earlier, the pair made their senior Nations Cup debut for Ireland, jumping a clear second round to impress Michael Blake.

The 18-year-old has just finished first year of Commerce at UCD, where he won a place on the Ad Astra Academy Academic scholarship, a leadership programme available to motivated students who can demonstrate high intellectual achievement, who want to reach further through undertaking a challenging university programme and develop their leadership skillset.

One of 55 starters in Sunday’s challenging 1.55m Grand Prix, Wachman guided the 10-year-old by VDL Bubalu to one of just 11 clears in the first round of the competition. Against the clock, he posted a clear in 38.90 seconds, just fractions slower than Belgian Olympian Gregory Wathelet who won aboard the experienced Nevados S (0/0 38.08) who had set the standard. There were just four double clears.

Speaking to The Irish Field after the show, Wachman said: “I started riding him at beginning of January this year, he’s very scopey and very brave, I think he is going to be an exciting one. I hadn’t done so many jump-offs with him, yesterday was the first day to go fast; we made a good plan with Cian [O’Connor], we had walked the course and all the strides came all up well so I was delighted with that.”

Tom is still classified as a junior rider so the European Championships are in his sights again. “I am still in juniors this year so we will see what the plan is for the Europeans. I have another really good mare called Cathalina S, she was clear in a 1.50m on Saturday. Hopefully I will get selected for the juniors and then we can see what horse James [Kernan, chef d’equipe] would like me to take. I would love to do more senior Nations Cups too, that will be up to Michael [Blake].”

Talking about juggling University and competing, he added: “UCD have been very helpful to me, it is a bit difficult to balance the riding and school but I enjoy doing both of them. I was in there [UCD] a lot this year, the horses are in Karlswood so it’s only 35 minutes up the road which means I can be in the yard and college most days.

“The scholarship provides a lot of support both academically and then with the likes of physios, nutrition, things like that. When I was competing in Florida at the beginning of the year, they allowed me to do one exam remotely which was very helpful. I think it’s very important to do college.”

As for the Dublin Horse Show, Tom said: “I am hoping to get into the five-star if I could. I don’t want to make any assumptions, but there are a few routes, like through the Premier Series at home, and there are some spaces for young riders or riders that have done a Nations Cup. I’d love to get in so we will see what happens.”

Nations Cup

Wachman was part of the Irish team that gained qualification for the EEF Nations Cup semi-final on Friday. He was joined on the team by his older brother Max, as well as his trainer Cian O’Connor and Alexander Butler.

The team finished eighth of the 11 teams with 13 faults after a competition of two halves. Butler, riding Milestone Farm’s Ti Amo B Z picked up eight faults in the first round, before Max Wachman and Susan Magnier’s Kilkenny (Cardento x Guidam) finished with four faults.

Tom, making his debut at the level, also picked up four faults, as did O’Connor when last to go with Tipperary, also owned by Susan Magnier. The nine-year-old gelding, formerly known as Empoli De Champloue when ridden by Bertram Allen, was making his first team start. That left Ireland on 12 faults at the half way mark.

Fortunes changes in the second round when Butler started with a foot-perfect jumping round, just adding a time fault, before Max repeated his four fault round with the Sinead Brennan-bred gelding. Tom Wachman and Cian O’Connor then both delivered brilliant clears meaning, with the addition of only one penalty, Ireland finished on 13 faults.

The final result came down to a jump off between France and Argentina who both finished on zero faults after two rounds. Against the clock, Malle Martin’s clear in 34.67 seconds with Bise des Bardellieres was just faster than Matias Albarracin (Full Option van’t Zand) to land a French victory. Spain finished third on four faults.

Curran placed

Commandant Geoff Curran finished third in Saturday’s 1.50m jump-off class. Riding the Minister for Defence’s 11-year-old ISH gelding Tempo Manor (Sligo Candy Boy x Lux Z), bred by Noel Wright, he was one of 10 clears in the 14-horse jump-off, finishing in 38 seconds, just ahead of Cian O’Connor who placed fourth with Ronnoco Jump’s 10-year-old gelding Checkter (0/0 38.78). Tom Wachman finished sixth with Cathalina S in 38.82.