Perfect Zero: Ireland Clinches Victory in Aachen’s Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup

The Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping Team delivered a stunning performance in Aachen, Germany, clinching the five-star €1 million Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup in their final high-level competition before the Paris Olympic Games.

The team, comprising Denis Lynch, Bertram Allen, Shane Sweetnam, and Cian O’Connor, dominated a field of world-class competitors, finishing on a perfect zero score. Remarkably, anchor rider Cian O’Connor didn’t even need to jump in the second round.

This victory serves as an ideal confidence booster ahead of the Olympics, now just over three weeks away. Horse Sport Ireland High Performance Show Jumping Director Michael Blake expressed his elation following the triumph.

“My God, that was brilliant – to a man, they were fantastic,” Blake said. “This was a Nations Cup we had targeted ahead of Paris, and the lads have delivered. Winning with a rider to spare shows how exceptional these four riders and their horses are, and I couldn’t be prouder.

“It’s a privilege and an honor to win a Nations Cup, and we have a special group of riders in the green jacket right now. All roads now lead to Paris, and this sets us up perfectly for the Games. Hopefully, the horses can stay fresh, and we can deliver a performance like this to make Ireland proud.

“We also have a wonderful team of support staff – our vets, grooms, the girls in the office, and everyone involved in the High Performance program. It’s very much a team effort, and they all deserve a big thank you and well done.”

The competition began with Denis Lynch and Vistogrand, who had a shaky start with a dropped pole at the first fence. However, Lynch quickly regained composure, and the pair finished the round with just four faults, which would ultimately be the discard score.

Wexford’s Bertram Allen and Pacino Amiro then took to the ring, delivering a flawless performance and settling the team with zero faults. Following Allen, Shane Sweetnam and his grey, James Kann Cruz, also posted a faultless round, maintaining the team’s strong position.

Meath’s Cian O’Connor, riding Fancy De Kergane, continued the clear rounds, leaving Ireland perfectly poised going into the second round.

After the break, Lynch returned with Vistogrand, expertly navigating the course for a clear round, while other nations began to falter. Allen and Pacino Amiro exuded confidence, securing another clear round and raising hopes for an Irish victory.

The pressure was on Sweetnam and James Kann Cruz to seal the deal, and they did so effortlessly, completing the course with a clear round and ensuring Ireland’s victory without the need for O’Connor to jump again.

This remarkable performance highlights the team’s readiness and sets a promising stage for the upcoming Paris Olympic Games.

Photo from RTE News.


Perfect Zero: Ireland Clinches Victory in Aachen’s Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup

Sign Up To Ireland’s First Ever Grassroots Equine Magazine!

Written by Grassroots Members for Grassroots Members!!

Your subscription is 100% Free for our first year, No credit card details required.