THE Irish senior show jumping team finished third in today's (Sunday) CSIO5* Nations Cup at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The Irish team, led by Horse Sport Ireland Show Jumping High Performance Manager Michael Blake, finished on a team score of 16. Following the final jump off round, Austria won and Great Britain finished second.

Horse Sport Ireland High Performance Manager Michael Blake said: "It's great to get a podium start to the 2023 season, but of course we would have liked to do better. There is a huge amount of potential with some great new and upcoming combinations. There was a lot of consistency across the team with no combination having more than four faults. There is always room for some improvement, a couple of small mistakes cost us from getting some more clear rounds. Jessica [Burke] did very well to jump clear in the first round, and likewise Michael [Duffy] jumped a very good clear in the second round. Congratulations to Austria on winning the Nations Cup."

Galway native Jessica Burke secured Ireland’s only clear round in the first round. Riding Nikki HH, the 10-year-old bay mare owned by Liam Nicholas, this was Burke’s five-star Nations Cup debut.

Michael Duffy, Shane Breen and Trevor Breen all competed their opening round on a score of four faults, leaving Ireland in third place on a score of eights faults going into the second round. Great Britain and Austria were tied on a team score of four faults at the halfway stage of competition.

Michael Duffy got Ireland off to a strong start in the second round, jumping clear with Cinca 3. Burke completed her second round on a score of four faults, as did Shane Breen. Trevor Breen withdrew Germaine W and did not jump in the second round.

Speaking after his second round, Duffy said of his mount: “She's brilliant, the mare has loads of experience, she's jumped around the Olympics. She’s super. Riding a horse like her, it's not exactly hard work."

This was the first FEI Longines Five-Star Nations Cup of 2023. The next competition will take place in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico at the end of April.

The Irish Show Jumping team is sponsored by The Underwriting Exchange

Charles Ancona – Official athlete clothing supplier to HSI’s Senior Olympic programmes

Source: Horse Sport Ireland press release