An excellent start for Irish riders at the “Goresbridge Go For Gold International Horse Trials” at the ,Ballindenisk Equestrian Centre in Cork on Friday.
Most of Ireland’s best hopes for Olympic qualification performed well at the dressage stage), with 22 year-old Camilla Speirs and the Irish-bred Portersize Just a Jiff leading the CIC competition, and Michael Ryan chalking up two top ten places on different horses – Old Road and Dromgurrihy Blue.
In the higher-ranked CCI class, Capt. Geoff Curran and another home-bred gelding – The Jump Jet – were best of the Irish in third place, while Elizabeth Power and September Bliss claimed fifth. The overnight class leader is British Olympian Oliver Townend with the Irish-bred Arctic Mouse.
Cross country at Ballindenisk continues today , with Sunday’s show jumping phase settling the final rankings, when some of the Irish riders competing will hope to have accumulated enough Olympic ranking points to gain qualifying slots for their country in London later this year.
The event is the last chance for Irish riders to secure Olympic ranking points before the cut off date of March 1st.
Forty seven riders from six different countries are taking part along with the Irish riders who are in contention to secure Olympic places for Ireland.
Ireland currently has three riders in qualification position and four more within striking distance. However, only 13 places are available and with another qualifier taking place in Italy this weekend, Ireland could find all their riders displaced by rivals from other countries.
Ireland can secure a maximum of five places and will need to secure at least three places to make up a team for the Games.
The Irish riders in contention for qualification are Michael Ryan, Mark Kyle, Camilla Speirs, Jayne Doherty, Capt Geoff Curran, Ciaran Glynn and Elizabeth Power.
Here Michael Ryan takes you round the course at Ballindenisk: