The Irish Show Jumping team will get their 2018 Nations Cup campaign underway in a fortnight’s time, with a double bill of action on the same weekend at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and Ocala in Florida, USA.
The five-star Longines FEI Nations Cup of the United Arab Emirates takes place in Abu Dhabi on Saturday February 17th, where Taylor Vard will be Ireland’s Chef d’Equipe.
The Irish squad for the Abu Dhabi Nations Cup is as follows:
Shane Breen with Laith,
Anthony Condon and Zira VH Kapelhof Z,
Cameron Hanley with Quirex,
Paul Kennedy and Cartown Danger Mouse (ISH),
David Simpson with Keoki.
The Ocala five-star Longines FEI Nations Cup in Florida takes place 24 hours later on Sunday February 18th, with Irish Development team manager Michael Blake hoping to repeat the victory his team achieved at the same venue in 2017.
The Irish squad for the Ocala Nations Cup is as follows:
Daniel Coyle with Cita or Grafton,
Cian O’Connor and Clenur,
Darragh Kenny with Go Easy De Muze,
Paul O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu,
Shane Sweetnam with Chaqui Z.
The 2018 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup series features 13 qualifiers on three continents. While Ireland will compete at several venues outside Europe during the season, their points-scoring outings will be in Europe Division 1 where they are among 10 teams gunning for glory. Alongside defending champions from The Netherlands, Ireland will be joined by France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Sweden, along with Belgium and Britain – the two top finishing teams in Division 2 last year.
The majority of the qualifiers will this year take place on Sunday afternoons for maximum audience reach, both onsite and on TV, but the Aga Khan Nations Cup in Dublin – the last of the eight Europe Division 1 qualifiers – will retain its traditional Friday slot on August 10th.
All Division 1 countries will be allocated five events in 2018 at which they can collect qualifying points for the Final, with all five results counting. Confirmation of Ireland’s five allocated events in Europe for 2018 is expected from the FEI in the coming weeks.
The series will culminate in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup 2018 Final at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona in October, where up to 20 of the world’s best show jumping teams will go head-to-head.