TIPPERARY’S Shane Breen has been added to the Irish Show Jumping team for this month’s FEI World Equestrian Games at Tryon in North Carolina USA. The news comes after Darragh Kenny’s horse ‘Babalou 41’, has unfortunately been ruled out of the Games after developing colic. The 13-year-old mare, owned by Jack Synder, underwent surgery on Friday and is reported to be doing well.
Irish team manager Rodrigo Pessoa has also confirmed that Galway’s Michael Duffy and the 12-year-old stallion ‘EFS Top Contender’ have been chosen as Ireland’s first reserve and will travel out to Tryon with the squad next week.
Pessoa said: “On Friday we learned of the problem with Darragh Kenny’s ‘Babalou’. This is very unfortunate, as Darragh is a very solid team member. The mare has undergone surgery and is now back in rehab and we wish them all the best in their recovery. Shane Breen comes into the team with ‘Ipswich’. They have been in really good form this year, winning the five-star Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Monaco and were fourth very recently in a five-star Grand Prix at Valence in France. Shane is a very experienced rider and will be a valuable member of the team.
“We have chosen Michael Duffy as fifth man with ‘EFS Top Contender’. They were on the Nations Cup team in Gijon this weekend, jumping double clear with just a time fault and we feel Michael is a very valid fifth member of the squad. He will also be a key man on the ground, which is very important for the stability of the group.”
Looking ahead to the start of competition, Pessoa is focused on the job at hand: “We are going to Tryon with the clear objective of punching our ticket to Tokyo and the Olympic team qualification, which has eluded us for many years. Now that we are European Champions, why not dream big and aim for a medal as well? We are really looking forward to a tough competition, but we believe we have a great chance.”
The Irish Show Jumping team, sponsored by Devenish and The Underwriting Exchange, for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games is:
Tipperary’s Shane Breen with ‘Ipswich Van De Wolfsakker’ – owned by Breen Equestrian, Jos Lansink Horses & Konstantin Pysarenko;
Meath’s Cian O’Connor with ‘Good Luck’ – owned by Adena Springs & Ronnoco Jump Ltd;
Limerick’s Paul O’Shea with ‘Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu’ – owned by Skara Glen Stables, Whipstick Farm, P Hurter & P Agnew;
Cork’s Shane Sweetnam with ‘Chaqui Z’ – owned by Spy Coast Farm LLC;
First reserve – Galway’s Michael Duffy with ‘EFS Top Contender’ – owned by Graham Dalton & Ben Dalton.
The FEI World Equestrian Games are held every four years in the middle of the Olympic cycle and are expected to attract 500,000 spectators over two weeks of competition, with 1,000 athletes and 1,500 horses competing from over 70 countries.
The 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games start on September 11, with the Show Jumping competition running from September 19 to 23. Ireland will also send teams to compete in Eventing and Endurance, along with individual athletes in Dressage and Reining.