Much to the delight of a jubilant crowd, Ireland triumphed on home turf during an exciting Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup and lifted the prestigious Aga Khan Trophy at Dublin Horse Show.
The quartet comprising Bertram Allen (Romanov), Greg Broderick (MHS Going Global), Cian O’Connor (Good Luck) and Darragh Kenny (Sans Soucis Z) pretty much swept the floor with their rivals from the outset, producing three first-round clears. Pathfinder Bertram knocked a pole with the Billy Twomey-owned stallion but it did not change the team’s position at the top of the leaderboard throughout. They were the only team to finish on four faults after the second round, resulting in no jump off.
“My horse is experienced so it suited him to go first. I’ve done a lot of jumping all over the world but to win in front of a home crowd is a dream come true,” said 20-year-old Bertram.
Team mate Greg was making his debut appearance in the class and produced the team’s only double clear, riding the nine-year-old gelding.
“I’m on top of the world. He’s only a young horse but has a fantastic attitude – some horses shrink in that arena but he seemed to grow,”he said.
With the European Championships in Aachen now visible on the horizon, Ireland’s Chef d’Equipe Robert Splaine is in a somewhat envious position.
“I’m feeling good – we’ve been building to this day for a while. These Nations Cups are not easy to win at all, the boys definitely earned their dinner tonight,” he said. “We are very capable of being competitive at the Europeans and the Olympics if we qualify.”
The Dutch team settled for runner-up spot, finishing on eight faults, while the Swiss riders scooped the third podium position.
The British team looked to be in contention after a promising first round. Scott Brash and Robert Whitaker both pulled clears out of the bag, leaving the team in third going into the final second round. Scott and the nine-year-old mare Hello M’Lady went on to pick up four faults in the second round. Robert and Catwalk IV followed up their clear round with eight faults. Michael Whitaker (Cassionato) knocked a pole and picked up a time penalty in each round.Things didn’t go to plan for Spencer Roe, he collected a handful of penalties strewn out across the course with Wonder Why, resulting in him being the drop score. The team finish sixth with a combined 23 faults.
The Brits are currently sat third in the Nations Cup division one standings behind Belgium and Switzerland and are one of seven nations to have made the cut, qualifying for the final in Barcelona in September. The other nations include France, Ireland, Netherlands and Sweden.
Today’s result will certainly be food for thought for Chef d’Equipe Di Lampard, who will be announcing her team selection on Monday (10 August).
For a full report on Dublin Horse Show, don’t miss next week’s issue out on Thursday 13 August.