There was a super start to Ireland’s Show Jumping campaign today with all three Irish athletes jumping clear rounds inside the time allowed in the Individual Qualifier to claim their places in tomorrow’s Individual Final.
The top 30 combinations qualified out of the 73 starters, which consisted of 25 clears inside the time, four combinations with one-time penalty, and one pair with two-time faults.
Best of the Irish with the second-fastest time of the night was Darragh Kenny and VDL Cartello.
Kenny was the first of the Irish to take to the arena, and made little work of the tough track, finishing on a fast time of 82.01, seven seconds under the time allowed.
Speaking afterwards, he said: “My horse feels great, he jumped a super round. I am very happy with him. It is becoming tougher and tougher as the rounds go on, but we all went early and we all jumped great rounds.”
Finishing closely behind Kenny with the sixth fastest time of the night on 85.18 was Bertram Allen and Irish-bred Pacino Amiro (ISH). This is the young nine-year-old gelding’s first championships, and he put on a stellar performance showing his amazing capabilities.
“It was quite a bit for him to take in, but he took it in very well,” expressed Allen. “I am delighted and looking forward to tomorrow. It’s very eerie without the crowd. We’ve been here for over a week and the horses have been here for longer. We were in quarantine in Aachen a week before that, so all the horses are feeling fresh.”
Last to go of the Irish trio was Cian O’Connor and Kilkenny (ISH).
O’Connor judged the timing to perfection as he crossed the line in 88.66 just inside the time allowed of 89 seconds.
Kilkenny, another young nine-year-old gelding who was bred by the Brennan family in Gowran, was hitting the lights and there was no fear of him touching any of the poles including an expressive jump over the water fence.
Speaking after tonight’s qualifier, O’Connor talked us through the atmosphere for young horses like Kilkenny: “He really grew to this atmosphere, and it might be strange to talk about atmosphere when there are no people here but with the lights on and the spooky jumps, everything is new. It can press a young horse. He [Kilkenny] was excellent and I think he will get better and better each day. I can’t wait for it.”
Action continues tomorrow (Wednesday) in Equestrian Park from 11:00 am (Irish time) with the Individual Final.