Ireland made their first win of the season a big one, scooping the Hickstead leg of the FEI Nations Cup for the first time since 2001. This moves them up one place from the bottom of the league table.
Robert Splaine’s team consisted of Shane Breen on Cos I Can, Richie Moloney on Ahorn Van De Zuuthoeve, Darragh Kerins on Lisona and Clem McMahon on Pacino. They finished on just four faults after a tense battle with Germany and France.
After the first round, all three nations were tied for first place, but France had seized control by the time the final riders went out for the second time. Germany were first to jump again and needed a clear round to stay in the competition. They faltered however and left it to Irish rider Clem McMahon, who retired in the first round, to jump clear.
With the Irish guaranteed a place in the jump off, French rider Penelope Leprevost needed to also jump clear. However the pressure was too much and she had an early fence down, causing her to retire and France to take second place.
“It means a lot,” said Robert Splaine, Ireland’s Chef d’equipe. “We’ve had a tough season so far, so we needed the result and we got it. I’m always optimistic when we go to a show, because I have a fantastic team of riders who are all top class. We’ve had a bit of misfortune this year so the win was much deserved.”
Richie Moloney was one of only two riders to jump a double clear round, the other being French rider Eugenie Angot and her horse Old Chap Tame.
Britain finished fourth behind Germany. William Funnell’s homebred Billy Angelo and 2012 Olympic team member Peter Charles’ Murkas Nevada both tallied four faults in each round. Olympic reserve team member Tina Fletcher and Hello Sailor were clear in the first round but got four faults in the second, while John Whitaker and Argento scored eight and four.
Image courtesy of Samantha Lamb