Ireland sits in a promising seventh position after the first leg of the European Showjumping Championships in Germany on Wednesday (1 September).
With the day’s opening faults and time converted to penalties, Ireland heads into day two with a score of 12.73, barely two fences behind the leaders, Sweden.
Pathfinder Michael Duffy came home with the best of the team’s four scores – clear in 78.39sec on HMF Equestrian’s and Katherine Duffy’s 10-year-old Zilton SL Z (Zirocco Blue VDL x Indoctro). With a converted score of 3.37, he is placed 20th in the individual standings.
Daniel Coyle on his own and Ariel Grange’s Legacy jumped clear in 80.43sec while Mark McAuley had four to add with the 12-year-old Jasco VD Bisschop. The drop score was Riesenbeck-based Eoin McMahon with Madeleine Winter-Schulze’s Chacon 2, but there remains plenty to play for as we head in to two more days of team competition on Thursday and Friday.
“It wasn’t the biggest course in the world today,” reflected Michael on Frank Rothenberger’s opening track for the European Showjumping Championships. “But you’ve also got championship nerves and lots of starters, so I think it was a very friendly introduction. I also think the result will be correct, and a good introduction for the rest of the week.”
Speaking about Zilton, Michael added: “He’s an amazing horse, but he is very inexperienced for this level. He wouldn’t have done that many big classes on day one of the show.
“He’s done a few five-stars, but not championship intensity. So I thought he coped with it really well, and that’ll be his worst round of the week now – he’ll only get better and better so I think that’s an incredible start for him.
“So it will be basically more of the same for the next two days – my rhythm won’t change that much. I wasn’t super duper fast today, I was probably five or six seconds off the leader. But that was my plan all week – if I could finish in the top 25-30 on day one, and then hopefully, if I jump two quick rounds in the Nations Cup we will be on the business end come Sunday.”
The European Showjumping Championships continue tomorrow (Thursday) with the team medals decided on Friday. The individual championship, where Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs will be bidding to defend his crown, concludes on Sunday (5 September).
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