Shane Sweetnam best of the Irish after first round of Showjumping in USA

The Irish Show Jumping team is in 10th place of 25 teams after Wednesday’s opening speed competition at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in North Carolina, USA.

The Rodrigo Pessoa-managed side is less than one fence off the medal positions at this early stage of the competition.

Shane Sweetnam and Chaqui Z were first to jump from a start list of 124 riders. The pair jumped clear in 80.19 seconds, placing the Cork rider 15th and highest of the Irish individually.

Cian O’Connor and Good Luck had a fast time of 77.72 seconds and despite lowering one fence, their score of 81.72 seconds leaves them in 23rd place, just over a fence outside the medal places.

Paul O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu knocked the very first fence, but jumped the rest of the course clear to finish on a score of 87.33 seconds, putting O’Shea in 62nd place.

Shane Breen and Ipswich Van De Wolfsakker lowered a single fence in 84.26 seconds and with four seconds added for the knocked fence, left Breen on 88.26 seconds in 68th position.

Switzerland holds the lead in the team competition with Netherlands in second and Brazil in third.

The second round of the team and individual Show Jumping competition at the World Equestrian Games takes place today, after which only the top 10 teams will make it through to Friday’s round to decide the team medals. The top six teams from Friday’s team final will have the added bonus of Olympic qualification.

The leading 25 riders will then go forward to Sunday’s individual final, which is set over two rounds at a massive 1m65, following which the new Show Jumping World Champion will be crowned.

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