Ireland’s Aga Khan team was today confirmed for the Nations’ Cup at the Stena Line Dublin Horse Show on Friday.
Chef d’Equipe Rodrigo Pessoa has slotted in US-based Shane Sweetnam as the team’s opener, while Cameron Hanley will become the anchorman.
The Irish team will jump in the following order:
Shane Sweetnam – Main Road
Mark McAuley – Utchan de Belheme
Paul O’Shea – Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu
Cameron Hanley – Quirex
This is the last Longines FEI Nations Cup in the 2018 series, and Ireland has already qualified for the elite Division One next year, and will also take part in the Nations Cup final at Barcelona next month. A win or even a second place at Dublin on Friday could also mean that Ireland will win the 2018 Nations Cup League outright.
The Dublin Nations Cup will also see teams from Great Britain, France, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States take part in front of a capacity audience in the RDS main area from 3pm.
Ireland is drawn last to jump in the team competition, with Italy first into the arena.
Rodrigo Pessoa said today about his second Aga Khan competition as team manager: “We are really looking forward to it. Our riders are ready, they are experienced and up for the challenge in front of our home crowd. We have four solid riders and they know what to expect.
“We are expecting a close competition, the teams looks pretty even and you couldn’t say one stands out. We will be respecting all our opponents and hoping for a good result.”
Pessoa and the Irish show jumping high performance committee will also be closely watching tomorrow’s action, as the next big decision will be which riders and horses will constitute the vital World Equestrian Games (WEG) squad in September at Tryon in the USA. Pessoa has already announced a long list of nine combinations, but this will have to be pared down to five before Ireland makes its bid for possible Olympic qualification at Tryon.