Irish ‘Dream Team’ score second Nations Cup win in the space of a week
The Irish Show Jumping team of Jenny Rankin, Aidan Killeen, Susan Fitzpatrick and Ger O’Neill, managed by Taylor Vard, have scored their second Nations Cup win in the space of a week, this time landing the Danish Nations Cup in Uggerhaine.
The Irish quartet came out on top last Friday at Drammen in Norway when managed by Shane Carey and the same four riders again took their place at the top of the podium today (Saturday) following a tense third round jump-off against Poland.
Tyrone’s Jenny Rankin with the Deirdre Bourns-owned Bennys Legacy finished with one fence down first time out, while Laois’s Aidan Killeen with Fair Play, owned by H.P.J. Verdellen, finished with five faults. Kilkenny’s Susan Fitzpatrick with the Sharon Fitzpatrick-owned Fellow Castlefield produced a perfect clear round to keep Ireland in touch, while another Kilkenny rider, Ger O’Neill and the Martin Egan-owned Irish Sport Horse Castlefield Vegas, finished with just a time fault.
Morocco had held the lead at the halfway stage on just a time fault, with Sweden in second on four faults while Ireland were in a share of third with Poland on five faults. Eight of the 13 teams who lined-out made it through to the second round, with Britain, Belgium and Italy among those who failed to make the halfway cut.
The second round saw Rankin repeat her four fault score from the first round, before an excellent clear from Killeen moved Ireland up the leaderboard. Susan Fitzpatrick then completed a brilliant double clear round, while O’Neill lowered a single fence when last to go.
Halfway leaders Morocco dropped out of the picture when one of their riders was eliminated. Sweden also dropped back and this left Poland and Ireland at the head of affairs as both teams finished on nine faults.
Poland selected Wojciech Wojcianiec as their rider to go against the clock in the deciding jump-off. He posted a fast time with Naccord Melloni, but left the door open when knocking a single fence. Jenny Rankin and Bennys Legacy returned with a perfect clear round to leave Ireland as winners for the second week in-a-row.
A thrilled Irish Chef d’Equipe in Uggerhaine Taylor Vard, explained that they had made an early morning plan in the event of a jump-off,
“I really am delighted for all four of our riders, they were amazing. In the first round, I thought maybe it was slipping away from us but in fairness to the team, they really fought back in the second round to take the win. They showed great team spirit and it was a great team effort. Hats-off to the Polish team who pushed us all the way.
“We had made a plan from first thing this morning that if we did get into a jump-off, that Jenny would be the one to go for us as her horse would be freshest after jumping first and thankfully it all worked out. A special word of thanks must go to Shane Carey who despite having a lot of horses here at the show himself, took time to help us all out throughout the week and also to Gerry Mullins who played a huge part in the win last week and again today. Of course we have to thank all our horses owners and all those working behind the scenes, Vard commented.