Ireland win The Aga Khan Trophy at the Dublin Horse Show

Conor Swail, Shane Sweetnam, Cian O'Connor and Max Wachman with The Aga Khan perpetual Trophy. Credit: Breandán Ó hUallacháin.

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Ireland won the Longines Nation Cup of Ireland for the award of The Aga Khan Perpetual Trophy at the Dublin Horse Show this evening.

The Michael Blake-managed team produced six clear rounds, including three from Conor Swail and Count Me In to lift the famous equestrian cup for the first time since 2015.

In the seven-nation event, Ireland had been drawn sixth to jump, with Swail and Count Me In operating as pathfinders for the side.

In an exciting opening round, Blake’s side produced three clear rounds, from Swail (Count Me In), Shane Sweetnam (James Kann Cruz) and Cian O’Connor (Kilkenny).

The other member of the team, eighteen-year-old Max Wachman riding Berlux Z, had just one fence down in the first round.

Ireland ended the opening round on a zero score, followed by France and Switzerland on four faults each respectively.

Marc Dilasser (Aristo Du Gevres) and Edward Levy (Uno De Cerisy) produced clear rounds for Henk Nooren’s side, while Steve Guerdat (Dynamix De Belheme) and Martin Fuchs (Cardano CH) did likewise for the Swiss.

Netherlands and Belgium were next after round one, each on 12 faults, while USA and Norway (who were competing in The Aga Khan Trophy for the first time) each recorded scores of 20 opening round faults.

Second Round

France began round 2 with three clear rounds and with two of the first three Swiss riders both faulting at the water, France would finish on a worst-possible score of 4 faults.

Count Me In and Conor Swail went clear in round two while Max Wachman had the final part of the treble down.

Just as Cork rider Shane Sweetnam and James Kann Cruz looked to be heading for a double clear round, a pole fell at the last, meaning Ireland would need their anchor leg combination of Cian O’Connor and Kilkenny to go clear in order to force a jump-off with the French.

The Irish combination duly obliged in order to force a jump-off over a shorter course.

Both Ireland and France opted for their original pathfinders, Conor Swail and Marc Dilasser, to contest the jump-off, as both had produced double-clear rounds during the competition.

With Dilasser and Aristo Du Gevres going clear in a time of 31.81 seconds, the pressure was now on the Irish combination, not alone to go clear, but to do so in a faster time.

Swail and Count Me In produced their third clear round of the competition, just as the French combination had moments earlier, but the Irish representatives went clear in a faster time of 30.31 seconds, winning the Longines Nations Cup of Ireland for The Aga Khan Perpetual Trophy for the home nation.

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