An excellent performance from Michael Blake's Irish show jumping team of Daniel Coyle, Denis Lynch, Trevor Breen and Shane Sweetnam saw them take third place on the podium in Friday's Longines FEI Nations Cup of The Netherlands.
The Irish performance included two superb double clear rounds from Shane Sweetnam with James Kann Cruz (ISH) and Daniel Coyle with Legacy, while Lynch with Brooklyn Heights and Breen with Highland President had just a fence down each in both rounds.
The home team took first place on a zero score while France finished on the same score as Ireland but in a slightly faster time to finish second.
Jos Lansink’s Dutch team of Maikel van der Vleuten (Beauville Z), Sanne Thijssen (Con Quidam RB), Willem Greve (Grandorado TN) and Harrie Smolders (Monaco) posted an impressive victory in what was the third leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Division 1 series.
The 2021 champions were favourites from the outset and certainly didn’t disappoint when cruising to pole position with a sensational zero score over two exciting rounds of jumping.
Germany finished fourth on 16 faults, Sweden and Belgium filled fifth and sixth with 20 faults apiece, the young British team finished seventh on a 28-fault tally and Italy, the only side not chasing points towards the Longines Final in September, finished eighth and last on a total of 29.
It fell on the very capable shoulders of Dutch anchorman, Smolders, to decide the result, and with two fences in hand he did it in style with a brilliant last-to-go clear from the ever-reliable Monaco which kept The Netherlands on a completely clean sheet.
Next stop in the series is Falsterbo, Sweden on Friday, July 15th. Team Germany hold the lead going into this fourth of six qualifying legs, and today’s result has boosted The Netherlands to second on the standings ahead of Switzerland in third, France in fourth and Ireland in fifth place.
Just seven of the 10 competing nations in Europe Division 1 will qualify for the Longines Final in Barcelona which will take place from September 29th to October 2nd.