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Michael Blake’s Irish Show Jumping team won Sunday’s five-star Longines FEI Nations Cup in Abu Dhabi. The Irish side produced six Irish clear rounds leaving them on a zero score at the end of the competition.
Ireland were pushed all the way by the United Arab Emirates who finished as runners-up on four faults. Britain finished third of the seven teams that competed on 17 faults.
The in-form combination of Shane Breen and the Team Z7-owned Z7 Ipswich were first to go for Ireland in the opening round. They completed the course inside the time allowed but picked up four faults at the water.
Twenty-year-old Jack Ryan from Co Kilkenny and BBS McGregor produced an immaculate clear round to keep Ireland among the early pace-setters.
Derry’s David Simpson and Foudre F added another clear to put Ireland in a strong position with one rider left to go in the first round.
Anchor rider Trevor Breen put Ireland on a zero score when he and Highland President jumped clear. Ireland led at the halfway stage as the only team on a zero score. The home team from the UAE was second on four faults.
Double clears for Ryan and Simpson
In the second round, UAE’s Abdullah Mohd Al Marri, jumped clear. However Shane Breen then matched his performance with an excellent clear with Z7 Ipswich to keep Ireland with a one fence advantage over the hosts.
Another clear from the second UAE rider Hamad Ali Al Kirbi kept them on a four fault score before Jack Ryan and BBS McGregor produced a double clear.
Ali Hamad Al Kirbi produced another clear for the UAE, meaning the home team would finish on a two round total of just four faults with three second round clears.
Ireland needed a clear from one of their two remaining riders to take victory. David Simpson completed a brilliant double clear performance with Foudre F meaning Ireland could not be beaten.