/ Equestrian

Irish team ninth in European Jumping Championships in Denmark

Updated: Thursday, 22 Aug 2013 21:26 | Comments

Ireland team manager Robert Splaine
Ireland team manager Robert Splaine

Despite having no discard score in the second round of today's Nations' Cup, Ireland finished ninth of the 19 teams that took part in the European Jumping Championships at Herning in Denmark.

After three days of competition the Irish quartet finished on a score of 42.4, but had the unexpected blow of Cameron Hanley's horse Antello Z being withdrawn due to veterinary advice before today's final round of jumping.

Hanley had nine faults in his first Nations' Cup round yesterday, while Shane Sweetnam and Amaretto Darco opened today with 12 faults to add to their nine penalties from Wednesday.

Shane Breen, who had gone clear in the first round on Balloon, had two mistakes in the final round, while Conor Swail and Lansdowne added no penalties today to their four faults from the first round.

Great Britain won the on a total penalty score of 12.18.

The top 25 horse and rider combinations now go through to the Individual Jumping Finals on Saturday.

Conor Swail and Lansdowne are ranked at 17th, while Shane Breen and Balloon hold 23rd place.

Britain's Ben Maher with Cella are the current individual leaders.

Afterwards Ireland's show jumping manager Robert Splaine said: "We have always regarded this as a building year for Ireland and we did finish in the top ten of the European championships with three horses new to championship level, and it is possible they can improve due to the experience.

“We also lost one horse for the second round due to veterinary advice, which was a major blow to our chances.

"Lessons have been learned which will help in putting our strategy togther for the World Championships in Normandy next year, which is the first opportunity for Olympic qualification. However one fact is very clear - we need top horses for our top riders in order to succeed at this level.

"Our ultimate goal of course is to win medals at the Olympics, and these championships were vital in giving us exposure to the standards required for the road to Rio."

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