The Irish Show Jumping team are in 10th place of 25 teams after Wednesday's opening speed competition at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in North Carolina.
Ireland, managed by Rodrigo Pessoa, are less than one fence off the medal positions at this early stage of the competition.
Shane Sweetnam and Chaqui Z are less than one fence off top spot after round 1 of the Show Jumping competition at the World Equestrian Games in the USA.
Cork’s Shane Sweetnam was the first to jump from a massive start list of 124 riders and despite the early draw, he put down an excellent marker with Chaqui Z, crossing the line clear in 80.19 seconds.
That puts Sweetnam into 15th place and they are the highest placed of the Irish individually at this early stage, just under one fence behind Swiss leader Steve Guerdat with Bianca.
The leaderboard is extremely tight, with Ireland less than one fence off the medal positions at this early stage. Another big day of jumping tomorrow before the team final on Friday. pic.twitter.com/CBgjIsqh2k— Team IRL Equestrian (@TeamIRLEq) September 19, 2018
Riding the anchor leg for Ireland, Cian O’Connor and Good Luck had a fast time of 77.72 and despite lowering one fence, their score of 81.72 leaves them in 23rd place individually and are just over a fence outside the medal places.
Limerick’s Paul O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu knocked the very first fence, but jumped the rest of the course clear to finish on a score of 87.33, putting O’Shea into 62nd position.
Tipperary’s Shane Breen and Ipswich Van De Wolfsakker lowered a single fence in 84.26 and with four seconds added for each knocked fence, that left Breen on 88.26 in 68th spot.
Switzerland hold the lead in the team competition with Netherlands in second and Brazil in third at this early stage.
The second round of the team and individual Show Jumping competition at the World Equestrian Games takes place on Thursday after which only the top 10 teams will make it through to Friday’s round to decide the team medals.
The top six teams from Friday’s team final will have the added bonus of Olympic qualification.The leading 25 riders will then go forward to Sunday’s individual final, which is set over two rounds at a massive 1m 65, following which the new Show Jumping World Champion will be crowned.