WITH two clear rounds on the board, Ireland finished the first round of European championship show jumping at Aachen in Germany today in eighth place of 22 teams competing.
More importantly, Ireland’s overnight ranking puts the country just one place outside the Olympic qualification zone with two days of team jumping still to go.
Ireland also saw 20 year-old Bertram Allen’s fast round of jumping on Ballywalter Farms’s Molly Malone put him in fifth individual place, just over two seconds adrift of French leader Penelope Leprovost on Flora de Mariposa, in a 94-strong field.
Robert Splaine’s team opened with eight faults from Denis Lynch and Thomas Straumann’s stallion All Star 5 but followed this with Allen’s clear and then a further clear from Tipperary’s Greg Broderick and Caledonia Stables’s Irish Sport Horse MHS Going Global.
Anchorman, Meath’s Cian O’Connor on Adena Springs’s stallion Good Luck, had one unlucky rail down to finish on four faults.
Though the team total, with times converted to points, left Ireland in eighth place today, they are fourth of the non Olympic-qualified teams at Aachen. Ireland must finish in the top three of that category in order to guarantee a team place at Rio next year.
Round Two of the European Championships takes place at 12.45pm on Thursday.
Each of the four riders will jump a standard Nations’ Cup round with the three best scores being added to the team score from the first day. After this round the top ten teams go forward to the team final on Friday, carrying their score from the first two rounds.
Germany is the overnight leading nation in the European championships.