Today is Longines FEI Nations Cup Day at the Stena Line Dublin Horse Show, one of the top annual sporting events in Ireland.
Score After first round
The Longines FEI Nations Cup competition gets underway at 3pm, with seven teams competing for the most coveted and most famous prize in team showjumping, The Aga Khan Trophy.
Following Thursday’s draw, the jumping order will begin with Italy, followed by Britain and Switzerland. The home side, Ireland, will be next into the Main Arena, followed by in-form Sweden, who claimed their first Hickstead Nations Cup in recent weeks.
Regular competitors in Dublin, the Netherlands, will be the sixth team to jump, while the current holders of The Aga Khan Trophy, Mexico, the surprise first time winners of the competition last August, have been drawn last to go.
Ireland’s pathfinder will be the highly-experienced Cian O’Connor, who will ride the 9-year-old bay gelding, PSG Final.
Kildimo, Co. Limerick native Paul O’Shea will be next into action, with Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu.
US-based Shane Sweetnam, originally from Kanturk, Co. Cork, will be Ireland’s third rider into the Main Arena, and he will ride the 13-year-old stallion Chaqui Z.
Ireland’s highest-ranked rider in the Longines FEI World Rankings, Offaly’s Darragh Kenny, currently the 13th-best rider in the world, with partner the 11-year-old bay gelding Import De Muze.
France currently leads the Europe Division 1 standings for the Longines FEI Nations Cup 2019 on 320 points, ahead of Belgium on 310 points, but with neither of these teams competing at the RDS today, the current third to joint-fifth placed teams, namely Switzerland (270 points), Sweden (260 points), Italy (250 points) and Ireland (250 points) could potentially win the league with a victory in Dublin this afternoon.
Longines FEI Nations Cup-competing riders will inspect the course at 1.10pm, before the arrival of Uachtarán na hÉireann, Michael D. Higgins, at 1.50pm. The spectacular parade of teams then begins, before the opening round of showjumping commences at 3pm.
The decisive second round of Longines FEI Nations Cup showjumping commences at 4.35pm, with the winners being presented with the Aga Khan Trophy at around 6.15pm.