FOR the first time in seven years, Ireland have won the famous Aga Khan trophy at the Dublin Horse Show, following an outstanding performance in the Longines FEI Nations Cup of Ireland from Michael Blake’s team of Conor Swail (‘Count Me In’), Max Wachman (‘Berlux Z’), Shane Sweetnam (‘James Kann Cruz’ (ISH)) and Cian O’Connor (‘Kilkenny’ (ISH)).
Ireland emerged victorious in a dramatic contest that came down to a thrilling jump-off against the clock between the hosts and France.
The victory marks the 24th time that Ireland has won the Aga Khan since its first running in 1926 and crowns an outstanding season for Irish equestrian sport that has included multiple European and World Championship medal wins, along with team qualification for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
Co. Down’s Conor Swail was first to jump for Ireland with ‘Count Me In’, owned by Sandy Lupton and Mannon Farm. Swail got Ireland off to a perfect start with a faultless clear inside the time – one of just two clears from the first line riders.
Tipperary teenager Max Wachman (18), with the Coolmore Show jumping-owned ‘Berlux Z’ looked to be heading for a clear on their Aga Khan debut. However, the front pole of the very last fence fell to leave them with four faults, a score that kept Ireland among the early pace setters, along with France and Switzerland.
Cork’s Shane Sweetnam was third to go for Ireland with the Irish Sport Horse ‘James Kann Cruz’ (ISH), owned by Gizmo Partners LLC. As the rain began to fall over the main arena at the RDS, Sweetnam delivered an outstanding clear, never touching a pole to move Ireland into a strong position.
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