Nations Cup round 1

March 8, 2011

Ireland’s show jumping team finished joint third to the USA and Canada at the American Nations’ Cup in Wellington, Florida at the weekend.

Darragh Kenny, Jennifer Crooks, Paul O’Shea and Shane Sweetnam completed the two rounds at the Palm Beach Equestrian Centre on a tally of 37 faults, alongside Great Britain and Australia.

The strong US team, featuring two Olympic gold medallists, finished on eight faults to claim the trophy, while Canada had a total score of 16. Eight teams took apart in the 78,000 dollar competition.

Team Ireland Equstrian show jumping manager Robert Splaine said afterwards: “We were really in the lions’ den here. All our riders in tonight’s team are now US-based, and I think we learned a lot from this exercise.”

The Irish scores were:

Darragh Kenny: Gael Force (ISH) 8/4
Jennifer Crooks : SF Uryadi 10/4
Paul O’Shea: Realman 9/-
Shane Sweetnam: Rolette 4/8

Elsewhere in Dressage, Judy Reynolds racked up an impressive set of results at this weekend’s international dressage tour at Vejer de La Frontera in Spain.

Finishing today (Sunday) with a third place and 68.98 per cent in the Grand Prix Special, the Kildare rider also added a Grand Prix second with her Dutch-bred gelding ‘Remember’ on Saturday on a score of 69.25, and a win in Thursday’s Intermediare II with 67.5.

A delighted Reynolds said this evening: “This has been a great start to my 12 month campaign. Between now and next March I will be fighting not just for Olympic qualification but also an Olympic starting place, so the scores in that regard are even more important than the results. I hope the next couple of weeks here will be just as good.”

Reynolds also picked up an eighth place this afternoon with her young horse ‘Vancouver’ in the Small Tour Intermediare I.


Also in Spain, Cian O’Connor delivered another notable result this evening (Sunday) with his Irish-bred gelding ‘Larkhill Cruiser’ when finishing third in the Spanish Sunshine Tour Grand Prix at Vejer de la Frontera.

The 40,000 euro competition, which was also a 2011 European Championship Qualifier, saw O’Connor lose out by three-quarters of a second to Brazilian Pedro Veniss for the 12,000 euro first prize in the 15 horse jump-off.

‘Larkhill Cruiser’, sired by the legendary stallion ‘Cruising’, has given the Meath rider a string of successes since he bought the gelding late last year, including a victory in Friday’s feature class at the three-star Spanish venue.

“He is easily the most consistent horse I have ever ridden,” O’Connor said tonight after the Grand Prix.


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