The quartet of Cian O’Connor, Jessica Kurten, Clem McMahon and Denis Lynch achieved Ireland’s best result of the 2012 Superleague series with a fourth place finish in Rotterdam in the Netherlands on Friday, incurring a Nations’ Cup total of 15 faults.
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A course that was punishing to riders from all eight nations who did not keep up a blistering pace, saw only opening combination Cian O’Connor and Blue Loyd avoid time faults for Ireland, chalking up the team’s only zero score in the second round, after having a fence down and a time fault on their first attempt.
Jessica Kurten and her new mount Voss had one pole down and a time fault in the first round, and collected eight faults when they came back after the break.
Clem McMahon, making his Superleague debut with Pacino, came home in the first round with a single time fault, but though improving his pace second time out, picked up four faults for a pole on the ground.
Nations’ Cup veteran Denis Lynch and Abbervail van het Dingeshof had a single mistake on their first round to record four faults, and like many combinations were caught out by the clock in the second round, with one time fault on the board.
Germany won the Rotterdam Nations’ Cup on four faults, going neck and neck with Sweden, who finished just one point behind them at the final bell.
Team Ireland’s show jumping manager Robert Splaine said: “It was a clever course with faults evenly distributed over the course, and there’s no doubt that the time allowed was tight.
“Clem McMahon and Pacino were a late call-up after Shane Breen’s Cos I Can sustained an injury. Pacino is a lovely young horse and this was its first top league outing, and it gave a superb performance. It’s certainly a great prospect for the future.”
“I was pleased with Cian O’Connor, who delivered an excellent clear round on Blue Loyd, which was without doubt a big help to us.”
Ireland next move on to what is considered the toughest test on the Nations’ Cup calendar, Aachen in Germany, where the fifth leg of the series takes place on July 5th. This will be followed by Falsterbo in Sweden on July 13, Hickstead in England on July 20, with the final 2012 competition being the Aga Khan Trophy at the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show on August 17.
At Hickstead’s current four-star show in England, meanwhile, Galway’s Andrew Bourns took a decisive victory in the big jump-off class with the Irish Sport Horse Roundthorn Madios, easily outpacing British challenger Daniel Moseley and the gelding Billy Grand to take the 8,000 euro first prize.