Ireland is in overnight fourth position of the 17 teams competing for the FEI European Jumping Championships going into Thursday’s second qualifying competition in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Deep early morning shadows on Gothenburg’s sunlit Ullevi stadium caused problems for horses competing in the first round of the championships, and Ireland’s pathfinder Bertram Allen was one of several to pay the price.

Allen and Hector Van D’Abdijhoeve skidded into a fence for four faults that were added to their otherwise respectable time and they ended on 91.39 seconds and well down the field of 80 starters.

The speed class then saw Meath’s Cian O’Connor and the stallion Good Luck in determined form, temporarily taking the class’s lead despite having the second part of the double down for 80.20, while Denis Lynch and All Star suffered the same fate at the same fence and came home on 83.21 seconds.

Cork’s Shane Sweetnam and the 11 year-old Chaqui Z were in the last 20 to jump and delivered a perfect fault-free display in a time of 79.89 seconds to lift Irish hopes for a top ten team place at the end of the qualification rounds.

At the finish today, Ireland had two riders in the top ten – Sweetnam at No.8 and O’Connor at No.10, with Lynch in 22nd place and Allen in 55th.

The second round of jumping begins at 12:30pm Irish time on Thursday, and at the finish the top ten teams then go forward to the team finals on Friday at 7:30pm.

Currently Switzerland leads on 5.15 penalty points, with France in second on 6.78, Sweden third on 7.21, and Ireland fourth on 8.11

Jack Burns

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