Aachen in Germany will see Ireland line out as third to jump in the Nations Cup at the five-star venue on Thursday evening.
Show jumping manager Rodrigo Pessoa has named his team of four as:
Shane Sweetnam – Chaqui Z
Darragh Kenny – Babalou
Cameron Hanley – Quirex
Cian O’Connor – Good Luck
Though not an FEI points-scoring Nations Cup for Ireland, nevertheless the Irish quartet will face some of the world’s top riders and horses over the huge Aachen course, and there’s little doubt that Pessoa is using the competition as preparation for his team selections for the World Equestrian Games (WEG) at Tryon, USA in September, when Ireland has an opportunity to qualify a team for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The other nations at the Mercedes-Benz Aachen Nations Cup on Thursday will be: Belgium (first to jump), Netherlands, France, Germany, USA, Switzerland and Italy.
Before the team manager makes his final decisions regarding Tryon, he will also be watching performances at the last two European Division One Nations Cups in this year’s league – at Hickstead in England at the end of this month, and Dublin’s Aga Khan Trophy competition in August.
It is reasonably likely that Ireland will attain its qualifying position in the Nations Cup league for 2019, but focus is now firmly fixed on who will best represent the country when the World Equestrian Games roll up in just two months’ time.
UPDATE: Ireland finished in second place in the Nations Cup at Aachen after Cian O’Connor and Good Luck come home clear to complete Ireland’s challenge. Germany won on four faults, with Ireland on six and Netherlands third on nine.