Ireland has announced its riders for the Rio Olympics in both jumping and eventing.
Horse Sport Ireland’s Eventing Team Manager Nick Turner has recommended that the following combinations be nominated:
Clare Abbott with her Irish sporthorse Europrince, a 13-year-old chestnut gelding by Lougheries Quiet Man out of Miss Tullydraw, owned by his breeder, Dr Cormac McKay.
Jonty Evans with Cooley Rorkes Drift, a 10-year-old gelding by Courage II out of Doon-A-Ree-Lass, bred by William McCarrison and owned by Fiona Elliot and Jonty Evans.
Mark Kyle with Jemilla, a 10-year-old bay mare by Mill Law out of Jessica XIX, owned by Shelagh and Richard Morley.
Padraig McCarthy with two horses, Simon Porloe and Bernadette Utopia. Simon Porloe is a 16-year-old bay gelding by Sofix out of Babilonia, owned by Christopher and Sarita Perkins. Bernadette Utopia is a 10-year-old bay mare by Colandro out of Ursela Utopia. The owners are the late Caroline Creighton, Pearl Chaffe, the late Hendrik Wiegersma, Padraig & Lucy McCarthy. Padraig is married to Lucy (nee Wiegersma) who is a top eventer herself, but has taken time out with the birth of their son.
The travelling reserve is Camilla Speirs with Portersize Just A Jiff who is a 16-year-old bay gelding by Crosskeys Rebel (CP) out of Mizen Talent (ISH), by Mizen Melody (TB). The breeder was Philip GL White, Co. Derry and the owners are Bridget & Camilla Speirs.
Speaking after the announcement Nick Turner said:
“This has been a very difficult decision to make as there have been an impressive number of combinations who have produced some fantastic results to date. We will be fielding a very competitive squad in Rio. I would like to thank all of the owners that made their horses available for selection. We will be working hard over the next 57 days in the lead-up to the Summer Olympic Games in Rio to contend for a podium finish.”
So, that means no Joseph Murphy, Austin O’Connor, Cathal Daniels, Michael Ryan, Aiofe Clarke or Sam Watson. They had been named in the long list and you can read more about them on this link.
And in show jumping news, there was quite a shock when Greg Broderick was announced as the Olympic representative. Many presumed that Bertram Allen would get the ticket, given that he is ranked 10th in the world and Broderick is at 252.
Speaking after the announcement Robert Splaine said:
“This has been a very difficult decision to make as we are fortunate that our four main contenders for the place are very strong. Greg Broderick and MHS Going Global have been outstanding contributors for Ireland in Nations Cups and have been consistent clear-round jumpers at 5 star level. Their performance last weekend in St. Gallen, Switzerland where they jumped a double clear in the Nations Cup to help Ireland to victory, and followed that up with two clear rounds in the Grand Prix, shows they are a combination at the very top of their form.”
Greg and MHS Going Global were members of last year’s Investec Irish Show Jumping team at Dublin Horse Show where they jumped a double clear to help Ireland to victory.
Greg hails from outside Thurles in Co. Tipperary, where he operates Ballypatrick Stables. MHS Going Global is 10-year-old Irish Sporthorse gelding owned by Caledonia Stables, and was bred in Kilkenny by Mrs Ita Brennan who sadly passed away recently.
After the announcement, Greg wrote on his Facebook page: “I have to say I’m over the moon and thankful to the owners, the Krugers, for keeping this great horse with me. I feel for Bertram who won the spot and I’m sure he will represent us in many more Olympics. It was a huge call by Robert Splaine and HSI to put us forward and we will do everything in our power to make Ireland proud. Roll on Rio.”
The Irish show jumping team was denied a place in Rio at the FEI European Championships in Aachen last year. Cian O’Connor had to jump a clear round for the team to qualify, and had a rail down after being distracted by a ring steward walking in front of him. Despite appeals to the highest Courts, the team did not qualify.
Ireland is currently the first reserve for an individual place and for a team place at Rio. Should an extra team or individual place open up between now and the definite entry date of July 18th, Robert Splaine has listed three reserve combinations.
These are, in alphabetical order:
Bertram Allen and Molly Malone V
Denis Lynch and All Star 5
Cian O’Connor and Good Luck
We would love to see these other riders at the Olympics, the competition will be the worse for their exclusion. While the goal of having as many nations as possible attending the Olympics is noble, in this case the competition suffers. All three of these riders would be capable of winning the medals on their current form.