THE Irish show jumping team will get their 2018 Nations Cup campaign under way at Abu Dhabi CSIO5* this weekend in the Longines FEI Nations Cup of the United Arab Emirates. Taylor Vard has today (Thursday) announced the team of four to line out on Saturday February 17th will be as follows:
Shane Breen with Laith - owned by Team Z7
Cameron Hanley with Quirex - owned by Patrick Mielnik
Paul Kennedy with Cartown Danger Mouse (ISH) - owned by Jane Kennedy
David Simpson with Keoki - owned by Julia Cruden
The reserve combination is Anthony Condon with Zira VH Kapelhof Z - owned by John Hales. Ireland has been drawn seventh out of eight teams to jump.
Speaking about the team, chef d'equipe Taylor Vard said: “The Nations Cup on Saturday will help us develop our team with the World Equestrian Games this September in mind. This has been team manager Rodrigo Pessoa’s plan from the start and it’s interesting to watch the developments of the horses and riders. I would like to thank our great owners who make it possible for Team Ireland to compete in these events.”
Irish riders have been putting in solid performances from early in the week with Anthony Condon taking second place in Wednesday's 1.45m Table A riding Zira Vh Kapelhof Z.
Cameron Hanley was runner-up in the 1.50m class aboard Quirex with Shane Breen in fourth with Can Ya Makan.
This morning (Friday), Condon finished fifth in the International 1.45m speed riding the Robert Bevis-owned Courtney Z, while Cameron Hanley finished in sixth place in the 1.60m Presidents Cup Grand Prix on-board his Nations Cup mount. Hanley completed with just four faults in the 12-horse jump-off in a time of 45.97. Victory went to Saudi Arabia's Ramzy Al Duhami.
In the USA, the Ocala (Florida) five-star Longines FEI Nations Cup takes place just 24 hours later on Sunday, February 18th, with Irish Development Team Manager Michael Blake hoping to repeat the victory his team achieved at the same venue in 2017.