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Ireland must rise to occasion in bid for Nations Cup success

By Ruth Loney

Dublin Horse Show director Pat Hanley predicts a first class Aga Khan Nations Cup event today at Ballsbridge.

"Our preparations went very well, with very strong advance ticket sales and the grounds are in great condition," said Hanley.

"The parades and pageantry are part of the magic of Nations Cup day and this year the Parade of Teams will be followed by the parade of champions."

Great Britain were drawn first to jump, with the USA second and Ireland third who are defending their title.

Robert Splaine said: "Third is a fair draw. But don't underestimate the opposition. Our guys need to be on top of their game."

US team boss Robert Ridland praised his all-girl squad and hopes to repeat their winning performance two years ago.

He said: "There's nothing like Nations Cups. We will never forget the arena here two years ago. We would probably all agree that any team that beats the Irish this week will very likely win the whole thing."

Running Order for Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Dublin: 1 Great Britain; 2 USA; 3 Ireland; 4 Czech Republic; 5 France; 6 Netherlands; 7 Sweden; 8 Italy

Meanwhile Ireland continued to dominate the international classes yesterday with Billy Twomey taking the Clayton Hotel Speed Derby in fine style on the Irish bred Ardcolum Duke who was the first of the 19 starters.

Twomey won more than 8,000 euros with a clear round in 84.70 ahead of Shane Sweetnam with Cyklon in 85.84.

Banbridge rider Dermott Lennon on his bay Andiamo sired gelding Vampire was third, while Olympic bound Greg Broderick finished fourth with Zuidam.

Saintfield's Conor Swail, who returned from North America for the show, was 13th on Kanisso while the Portadown-bred Mullaghbane was 16th for the Irish army pilot Capt Geoff Curran.

The five-year-old Young Event horse class was won by Felicity Ward with Shanagore Jenga by West Coast Cavalier scoring 93.48 points with Gilford County Down eventer Steven Smith giving a foot perfect performance with Winchester for 93.25 points in fourth.

The 128 ponies was won by Alex Finney's Some Journey, was clear in 33.97 to win the 128 ponies in a 10-pony jump off.

Mills from Scarva County Down finished third with Acton Major just behind Deirdre O'Brien's Gilobrien Prince.

Event horses are getting a superb showing the RDS with Ireland's best horse trials riders bringing a vast selection of top pedigrees to perform over stunning tracks.

Jason Higgins with My Kilcannon Annie scored 95.45 to win the four year olds. The chestnut Harlequin du Carel mare was just ahead of Alyssa O'Neill's Colacentric, a grey mare by Lancelot scoring 94.12.

The young event horse classes have been a mainstay of the show, with buyers keen to purchase future Badminton and Olympic champions from the cream of RDS winners.

Linda Morgan was the champion in the RDS Small Event class, Shirsheen Fun Size scored 91.54 pipping runner up Aideen Kirby on board Derg Masterpiece scoring 90.21 and Stephanie Cunningham with Ringfort String of Pearls by Larino in 88.67.

Winner of the Connemara Performance hunter was Emily McGowan of Killinchy with Rathbane Legend. Victoria Mills, from Scarva, finished third.

Belfast Telegraph


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