Aoife Clark will not be riding on the Irish squad at next week’s Longines FEI European Eventing Championships at Blair (10-13 September).
“I am hugely disappointed to say that we have had to withdraw ‘Jimmy’ from the Europeans at Blair,” she wrote on her website this evening. “He has picked up a bang to a joint in training which looks like it will need a couple of weeks rather than a few days to settle properly.
“Thankfully it is nothing serious and all scans and X-rays are clear, but we cannot risk him carrying a knock into a team championships because of the potential for serious injury, and also the risk to the team.
“I am devastated for his owner Henrietta [Duchess of Bedford] who had so generously made him available for Blair, and was very much looking forward to it. His performance at Badminton [the pair were eighth] showed that he has been in the form of his life this year and I had hoped Blair would really play to his strengths.
“I would like to aim him at Pau CCI4* in October, and I hope to have him back to full work in a couple of weeks. I wish the rest of the team the very best of luck, though I am gutted not to be there with them!”
Irish eventing high performance manager Nick Turner said: “It has been a difficult decision to make but as the championships are due to start Wednesday of next week I felt there was not enough time to give Vaguely North the time he needs without missing out on valuable training in the days leading up to the event.”
Aoife’s place will be taken by Joseph Murphy and Sportsfield Othello, who have withdrawn from the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials after doing their dressage today. The pair scored 47 for 28th place.
“I would like to thank Jill Murphy [Joseph’s wife], Alison Schmutz and Andrew Tinkler, the owners of Sportsfield Othello, for making him available for the championships,” added Nick.
The news will be a blow for Irish hopes for Blair as Aoife and the 15-year-old Vaguely North were one of Ireland’s strongest pairs.
Joseph will join Padraig McCarthy (Simon Porloe), Austin O’Connor (Balham Houdini II), Michael Ryan (Ballylynch Adventure), Camilla Speirs (Portersize Just A Jiff) and Sam Watson (Horseware Lukeswell) on the Irish squad.