Horse Sport Ireland Show Jumping High Performance Director Michael Blake has named The Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping team ahead of Friday’s five-star Longines FEI Nations Cup at the Dublin Horse Show.
Blake’s side will jump fifth of the eight competing nations, as Ireland aim for back-to-back wins in the Aga Khan Trophy at the RDS.
Aga Khan Trophy debutant Michael Duffy and Cinca 3 will be the Irish pathfinders.
Next into the Main Arena for the home nation will be another Aga Khan Trophy first timer in Mikey Pender and the Irish Sport Horse HHS Calais.
The experienced Cian O’Connor and Eve D’Ouilly will be next to jump for Ireland, while US-based Shane Sweetnam and the Irish Sport Horse James Kann Cruz will be the anchor leg.
Speaking at the team draw on Friday morning, Michael Blake said:
“I’m very confident, I have named a strong team – but there are very strong teams here.
“Michel Duffy has been on three Nations Cup teams this season with Cinca 3 and jumped five clear rounds out of six. So we will start off with him as our first rider in.
“Michael Pender has jumped in two Nations Cup and was outstanding in Rome with HHS Calais.
“We are going to put Cian in third, which some might find unusual. He’s on a new horse to him, who is less experienced, so he can go in and jump his own round without as much pressure.
“Shane is on one of the best horses in the world right now, so we’re going to let him carry the weight of the world and put him in last.”
The eight nations competing for the Aga Khan Trophy will jump in the following order:
- The Netherlands
- Great Britain