The first leg of the FEI Nations Cup Superleague Series takes place at La Baule, France, on Friday, with Ireland’s five-strong squad of Shane Carey, Cameron Hanley, Cian O’Connor, Shane Sweetnam and Billy Twomey already competing in the warm-up classes in the Atlantic coast town’s arena.
From these five, Team Ireland Equestrian’s show jumping manager Robert Splaine will select four tonight to compete against the world’s other seven best teams tomorrow afternoon – the USA, Netherlands, Great Britain, France, Denmark, Belgium and Germany.
Two hundred thousand euro in prize money will be on offer for Friday’s Nations Cup, the first of the prestigious eight-stage circuit, which includes Dublin’s August Aga Khan competition in August.
Action at La Baule kicks off at 15.35pm and can be watched live on the subscription channel FEI TV (www.fei.org). Regular updates will be available on Horse Sport Ireland’s website and the Team Ireland Equestrian Facebook page.
Team Ireland Equestrian Showjumping Manager, Robert Splaine, said:
“This will be a very challenging league for us as the main aim for the year will be the European Championships in Madrid where Olympic qualification will be at stake. I will be avoiding overusing our potential championship combinations and this could leave us a little vulnerable at times as we would struggle to have the strength in depth that some of the other teams have.”
“La Baule itself will be very competitive but we have five very experienced riders going there and I am hopeful of decent result to get us off to a solid start.”