The Irish showjumping team are one fence away from winning gold at the Longines FEI European Championships.
Put in a stop
Day two of the showjumping in Gothenburg was a mix of thrills and spills, as pathfinder Shane Sweetnam (Chaqui Z) produced an outstanding clear, and then Bertram Allen had a fall at fence 10.
This was the second time in two days that Hector Van D’Abdijhoeve had put in a stop, but this time when Bertram attempted the fence again, his horse ploughed into the fence, throwing him out of the saddle.
Thankfully both horse and rider were uninjured, but with Bertram eliminated, the pressure was on the two remaining riders.
Denis Lynch looked to be heading for a clear with All Star. However, he had the last fence down leaving them with just four faults. Last to go was Ireland’s anchor rider Cian O’Connor (Good Luck), who produced a foot-perfect clear.
Taking into account the scores from day one, Ireland is now on a total of 12.11pen – which puts them in joint bronze position with the Belgian team. The Swedish hosts are in gold medal position heading into the final day (8.21pen), and Switzerland are currently in the silver spot (11.15pen). This means there is one fence between the top three teams.
Ireland competes today with just three riders, as Bertram has decided to withdraw Hector Van D’Abdijhoev from the championships.
“We have decided that in the interest of the safety of the horse and the confidence of the rider, Bertram and Hector will not jump tomorrow,” said Irish chef d’equipe Rodrigo Pessoa. “The welfare of the horse is our number one priority.”
Double clear for William
Britain’s William Whitaker is also jumping again today. He produced a second clear with Utamaro d’Ecaussines, which means he adds no further penalties to his score of 5.06pen from the first round. These were differential points awarded due to the time difference between their clear (85.81sec) and the opening leader Peder Fredricson (75.70sec).
William’s double clear saw him climb 22 places and he is now in 17th place. Only the top 25 riders qualify for Sunday’s Individual final, so it is great to see him finish in such a strong position going into today’s final individual qualification round.
“It’s a tough course today, from the first to the last, it comes thick and fast,” said William after his round. “He gave me everything all the way round; now we just have to concentrate on tomorrow, and just keep doing what we’re doing.
“It’s always nice to get off to a good start; he’s an amazing horse, he always gives his best and he just jumped brilliant.”
The European Championship team final starts at 7.30pm (UK time) tonight – individual riders will also be jumping. You can follow all the action with H&C as we are filming in Gothenburg to bring you behind-the-scenes action and interviews. We are also showing highlights of the team showjumping competition on H&C TV.
FEI Europeans 2017: Team Jumping is on 29 August at 9pm on Sky 253, or you can watch online via H&C Play or Amazon Video.
H&C coverage of the European Championships is sponsored by