Runner-up finish for Irish Show Jumping team at Italian Nations Cup in Rome

With just over two months to go before the start of the equestrian competitions at the Olympic Games in Paris, Michael Blake’s Irish Show Jumping team have claimed an impressive runner-up finish in today’s (Friday) five-star Italian Nations Cup in Rome.

The Rome Nations Cup at the picturesque Piazza di Sienna, is part of the new Rolex Series which also includes the Dublin Horse Show this August. Ireland had won the Rome Nations Cup for the very first time in 2023, and team manager Michael Blake selected a very strong team in a bid to retain the title.

Ireland were in fourth place after the opening round and one of four teams on four faults. Perfect clear rounds from Shane Sweetnam with the Patrick Connolly-bred CSF James Kann Cruz (ISH) and Cian O’Connor with Maurice, along with a four fault score from Daniel Coyle with Legacy, left Ireland just a fence behind the halfway leaders Germany and the USA on a zero score.

Offaly’s Darragh Kenny and Amsterdam 27 picked up eight faults when first to go for Ireland in the second round. Cork’s Shane Sweetnam and the Patrick Connolly-bred CSF James Kann Cruz (ISH) were next to go and they completed a fantastic double clear performance to keep Ireland in touch with Germany who had moved into the outright lead at that point as the only team on a zero score. Derry’s Daniel Coyle also jumped clear in the second round with Legacy, before anchor rider Cian O’Connor completed his double clear performance with the 12-year-old gelding Maurice.

That left Ireland on a final score of just four faults, one fence behind Germany who claimed victory as the only team to finish on zero, while Belgium took third spot on the podium.

Rome will host the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday, with €500,000 up for grabs.

CSF James Kann Cruz (ISH) – 2013 gelding by Kannan out of CSF Telly Cruz by Cruising, bred by Patrick Connolly owned by Gizmo partners LLC. Ridden by Shane Sweetnam