Ireland ended up in a tense, nail-biting jump-off for the Longines Nations Cup of the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi, but sadly the timed round didn’t go to plan and the team finished second to New Zealand.
David Simpson was the hero of the green isle with a magnificent double clear - one of only two to be on a handsome half share of the 50,000 euro bonus - on the talented nine-year-old Keoki (Catoki/Cassini I). Anchor Shane Breen was also clear in round one on the Lord Z 11-year-old Laith and added to Cameron Hanley’s four with the Concorde 13-year-old Aiyetoro, the Irish returned a halfway stage score of four to be level pegging with New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and Italy.
Pathfinder Cameron again came home on four and David’s second clear strengthened the team. Third out Paul Kennedy improved on his round one score of eight with just one mistake on the Harlequin Du Carel 12-year-old Cartown Danger Mouse for four second time out. It all rested on Shane, but uncharacteristically, Laith returned on eight faults – putting the team in equal first with New Zealand on 12 faults apiece and forcing a jump-off.
Although David was on form, Shane’s experience was chosen as the jump-off representative, but it all went wrong and resulted in 17 faults, leaving the door open for New Zealand to take the win. And they did so in style, Samanth McIntosh, who had already provided a double clear, coming home penalty-free on Check In. She was joined on the podium by Daniel Meech on Fine (8+4), Richard Gardner on Calisto (4+4) and Bruce Goodin riding a borrowed horse for the first time, Backatorps Danny V – a Quasimodo Z/Lupicor 10-year-old produced in Britain by Adam and Jessica Botham – who finished on clear and four.
Sam Hutton guided Aramis into third in the 1.50m accumulator with joker, the 11-year-old Askari stallion finishing almost two sec behind the pace in the 48-strong class. David slotted the Unaniem 11-year-old Unex Cognac IV into sixth just ahead of fellow Irishman Shane and the 12-year-old Canturo stallion Can Ya Makan – both returning maximum scores.
Photo © Jumping Around