Britain won the Longines FEI Nations Cup of Ireland for the award of The Aga Khan Trophy for the 27th time at the Stena Line Dublin Horse Show at the RDS this afternoon.
Dai Lampard’s team produced 5 clear round from 7 jumping combinations and didn’t require their anchor Holly Smith and Hearts Destiny to come out in the second round, as the visitors finished on 1 fault.
Ben Maher, winner of the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of London at the Royal Hospital Chelsea last weekend, was the only British rider to knock a pole in the opening round, but as the discard score, it meant the British ended the first round on a zero faults score.
Both Scott Brash with Hello Jefferson and Emily Moffitt with Winning Mood went clear in both rounds, quite a feat for 21-year-old Moffitt who was competing in her first 5* Nations Cup.
Ireland, who began the second round in third place on eight faults, saw Cian O’Connor and PSG Final knock a single pole, but also pick up a time fault.
Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu and Paul O’Shea went double clear before both Shane Sweetnam and Darragh Kenny followed up with 4 faults each respectively, as they had done in the first round, as Ireland ended the class in third place on 16 faults.
Italy, who stood in second place, at the halfway stage, had three four-fault rounds and a clear from Paolo Paini with Ottava Meraviglia Di Ca’ San G, meaning the Italians finished the competition as runners-up on a team total of 12 faults.
Switzerland were fourth on a team total of 21 faults, the Netherlands fifth with 24 faults, ahead of reigning champions Mexico on 33 faults, with Sweden bringing up the rear with a two-round total of 41 faults.
At the halfway stage, Dai Lampard’s team led on zero faults following clear rounds from Brash, Moffitt and anchor Holly Smith. Italy sat second on 4 faults, just one fence ahead of the host nation.
Switzerland were on 9 penalties, as Barbara Schnieper and Cicero F had picked up one time fault. The Dutch team came next on 16 faults, ahead of the reigning Aga Khan holders, Mexico, who despite an opening clear from Jose Antonio Chedraui Eguia and Ninloubet, ended round 1 with 20 faults, one ahead of recent Hickstead Nations Cup victors, Sweden, who discarded a 12-fault round, but had to count rounds of 4, 8 and 9 faults respectively.
Ireland’s pathfinder Cian O’Connor with PSG Final had a fence down in the first round in a time of 75.34 seconds before US-based Limerick native Paul O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu produced Rodrigo Pessoa’s team’s only clear of the opening round.
Shane Sweetnam, riding Chaqui Z, knocked the 160cm Longines upright, before the team’s anchor Darragh Kenny’s mount Important De Muze had a leg in the water. The home side finished the first round on a total of 8 faults, 2 fences behind the leaders, Britain.
In the overall standings in European Division 1 of the Longines FEI Nations Cup 2019, Switzerland top the league on 340 points, with Italy in second on the same score. Ireland finish in third place on 330 points, ahead of France on 315. Belgium are next on 310 points, with today’s Aga Khan winners, Britain, moving up to the crucial seventh spot on 265 points.
The top seven teams, including Ireland, are now qualified for the Longines FEI Nations Cup Final in Barcelona later in the year, with countries such as Germany and the Netherlands losing out.