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The Nations’ Cup road to the Olympic Games

Cian O’Connor riding BWP stallion Good Luck (Canturo - Famosa Z x Furioso), bred by Dirk Geerinckx Photo: FEI

SWITZERLAND (by Sonja Grob) St. Gallen, Switzerland, hosted the fourth qualifier of the 2016 series in the Furusiyya FEI Nations’ Cup Jumping Europe Division 1 League. In reality, it was only the third competition to survive an especially wet start to the season, as the third leg in Lummen, Belgium, had to be cancelled due to bad weather. In La Baule, France, the ground was very heavy – a recurring problem throughout Europe even though we’re nearly at the end of June.

Here, it was team Ireland that claimed the top podium spot following two rounds, with Denis Lynch and his Hanoverian stallion All Star (Argentinus - April Love ZH x Almé), Greg Patrick Broderick riding the gelding MHS Going Global (Quidam Junior I – Gavran Lady x Cavalier), Bertram Allen in the saddle of Molly Malone V (Kannan - Janini X Cavalier) and Cian O’Connor aboard the second stallion in the team, Belgian Warmblood Good Luck (Canturo - Famosa Z x Furioso), bred by Dirk Geerinckx. Broderick scored a double clear round, while Lynch and All Star, bred in Germany by Horst Zöllmer, had two rails down.

Meanwhile, O’Connor had one fault in the first round, while youngster Allen was rather unlucky to have two rails down in the first round, plus time penalties. His errors were wiped out with a perfect performance in round two, giving Ireland the lead. Ironically, Sweden, France, the United States and Germany shared second place, all with 12 team faults.

It was the seventh time that Ireland had won the Nations’ Cup in St. Gallen and they were in top form. Team chef d’equipe Robert Splaine was more than happy with his riders and had been a team member himself when they last celebrated victory here, and then went on to win the Grand Prix: “And today it’s my birthday” he explained. “I told my guys this after the first round and also told them to bring a great result – which is what they did in a fantastic way.”

Coincidentally, Ireland has not qualified to send a team to the Olympic Games following a somewhat controversial incident during last year’s European Championships in Aachen, German. However, they are allowed to send an individual rider, and following St. Gallen the decision is unlikely to be easy. However, subsequently, Greg Patrick Broderick has now been selected and, according to his website, will be competing with the his Irish Sport Horse MHS Going Global, bred in Ireland by Ita Brennan. It was perhaps a predictable conclusion following his excellent showing in St. Gallen, including three wins – two with his 12-yearold Zuidam (Guidam - Our Mexico x Indoctro) – plus one third and one fourth place finish...