Waterford’s Captain Geoff Curran was the star man for the Irish Show Jumping team on Friday as they scored a magnificent Nations Cup victory, after a titanic battle at Drammen in Norway tonight, where a gripping contest was decided by a single fault.
Capt. Geoff Curran sealed victory for the Irish, with a dramatic last-gasp round aboard the Minister For Defence-owned Irish Sport Horse Ringwood Glen, to deny runners-up Belgium who had to settle for second.
Ireland held the lead at the halfway stage on 10 faults. Meath’s Alexander Butler recovered from a tricky round first time out with Hallowberry Cruz (ISH)(TIH) to finish with nine faults second time out. Louth’s Mark McAuley then put Ireland in the driving seat with a superb second round with Utchan De Belheme, where they finished with just a time fault. Mayo’s Cameron Hanley and the eight-year-old Quirex had finished with just a time fault in the first round and came home with five faults in the decider.
However Belgium were in inspired form in the second round – chasing points in their bid to regain Division 1 status. Clear rounds from Olivier Philippaerts (H&M Legend Of Love) and Pieter Devos (Dream Of India Greenfield) kept the pressure firmly on Ireland.
Capt. Geoff Curran and Ringwood Glen (ISH) were last to go for Ireland, knowing four faults would give Ireland victory but even a time fault extra would open the door to the Belgians. The Army Equitation rider and Ringwood Glen picked up four faults with a toe in the water but Curran kept his cool to match his four fault score from the first round and seal victory for the Irish.
Capt. Geoff Curran said afterwards, “I am absolutely delighted. Ringwood Glen is a real favourite in the Army Equitation School and he deserves this win. I am really happy to be part of this great team.”
When asked if he knew he was in the water and that he couldn’t afford even a time fault, Capt Curran said, “I had a feeling that I might have been in the water and I knew I was tight enough on the time allowed but I kept the same plan of doing eight strides down to the last fence. It worked in the first round and thankfully again in the second but I didn’t plan on being quite that tight to the time allowed [0.21 of a second].”
Ireland finished on a 20 fault total, with Belgium second on 21 while France finished third on 24.
Meanwhile, Waterford’s Peter Moloney continued his recent run of good form when he was the sole Irish representative in Lummen’s three-star Belgian Grand Prix and he recorded a sixth place finish with the Team Harmony-owned D’Atlantique Royale. Seven combinations from the 59 starters made it into the jump-off, with Moloney first to go against the clock. A single fence down in 46.08 saw him finish sixth behind Spanish winner Julio Arias with Barnaby who crossed the line clear in 45.59.