Saturday 21st of October 2017
Showjumping

Irish Aga Khan Nations Cup Team at the Dublin Horse Show

Irish Show Jumping team manager Rodrigo Pessoa has this morning (Thursday) named his four man team, sponsored by Devenish and The Underwriting Exchange, for tomorrow’s crucial Nations Cup at the Dublin Horse Show where the coveted Aga Khan trophy will be up for grabs.

(l-r) Shane Breen, (2017 Aga Khan squad member), Michael Blake (Assistant Manager), Mark McAuley (2017 Aga Khan team member), Jane Hurley (Devenish), Kay O’Connor (The Underwriting Exchange), Cian O’Connor & Bertram Allen, (2017 Aga Khan team members) and Chef D’Equipe Rodrigo Pessoa © Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

The 2017 Irish Aga Khan team will line out as follows:

Wexford’s Bertram Allen with Molly Malone V– owned by Ballywalter Farms
Louth’s Mark McAuley with Miebello – owned by Eva Lundin
Tipperary’s Denis Lynch with RMF Echo – owned by Rushy Marsh Farm LLC
Meath’s Cian O’Connor with Good Luck – owned by Adena Springs & Ronnoco Jump Ltd

Irish riders were in excellent form on the opening day at the RDS, winning the two feature international classes and with six riders in the top 50 of the Longines World Rankings, Irish Show Jumping is on a real high.

Speaking after announcing his team, Brazil-born Rodrigo Pessoa was looking forward to his very first Aga Khan as Irish team manager,

“This is of course a very special and important Nations Cup for us. There is so much history and prestige that goes with the Aga Khan at the Dublin Horse Show. Of course at the start of the year we said that the European Championships, which comes in a couple of weeks time, is our main focus for this season and we are saving some of our horses for that. But we are still lining up with what I think is a very good team for our home Nations Cup.”

Pessoa is in no doubt about how tough the competition will be and is hoping the home crowd at the RDS can give Ireland an advantage,

“The level in all of these Nations Cup competitions is really high and any of the teams jumping tomorrow could win. We will I am sure get great support from the home crowd and all our riders will be very eager to put in a good performance. Our horses are in good form and they will all have a rest day today ahead of the big event on Friday.”

The Dublin Horse Show is hosting the last qualifying round in Europe Division 1 of the FEI Nations Cup series. Ireland finished in fourth place in the penultimate round in Hickstead a fortnight ago to all but guarantee a place in the Nations Cup world final in Barcelona at the end of September.

Six teams – Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain and Ireland will be competing for Nations Cup points in the Aga Khan, while Britain and USA will also field teams but will not be eligible for points.

Ireland have an excellent record in their home Nations Cup, winning the Aga Khan trophy 23 times since it was first awarded in 1926. However Pessoa’s team will face a tough challenge, not least from Britain who will be looking to add to their impressive total of 26 Aga Khan wins.

The draw for the order of jumping will take place at the RDS later this afternoon. The Dublin Nations Cup for the Aga Khan trophy starts at 3pm on Friday and is live on RTE2 television with the programme starting at 1.45pm.

The Aga Khan Nations Cup will also be shown live on FEITV for viewers outside Ireland.

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