Chef d”Equipe Michael Blake hailed the Irish riders after a glorious victory in last night’s Wellington Nations’ Cup in which the team of Shane Sweetnam, Paul O’Shea, Conor Swail and Cian O’Connor saw off the opposition in style to finish on a team total of just four faults.

It was the second successive year that Ireland had won in Wellington, and for Blake his second triumph as Chef d”Equipe having landed the Ocala Nations’ Cup two weeks ago.

“These are a fantastic bunch of riders and I am honoured to have the opportunity to work with them”, said Blake. “I am delighted with the back-to-back  nations’ cup successes.”

While the victory was not secured until anchorman Cian O’Connor delivered his second clear round on Seringat, the Irish won with thread to spare on a night when the opposition were unable to keep up with the relentless efforts of an Irish team who barely gave an inch with only two poles tumbling over their eight rounds of jumping.

“This win was very special and was achieved as a result of commitment and hard work by all involved”, Blake said, paying tribute as well to the support at the venue for the the Irish team. “We had fantastic supporters in a packed Wellington tonight.”

The Irish manager also had words of praise for Mikey Pender who had a first and second at high junior level at the venue earlier in the day.

Mike Dunne