Three Nations Cup debuts and a win for Team Ireland

Posted on November 23, 2021

This week was the Breen Team’s fourth and final week out in Portugal, and the horses kept impressing us with their final rounds under the sun.

The six-year-olds have really learnt their ring craft on this tour. It was both Keyton and Koh-I-Noor’s first stay away show abroad and they have really come into their own as competitive horses. This final week highlighted their talent, with Keyton and Georgia picking up a podium finish with 2nd in the age class whilst Jack aboard the young stallion Koh-I-Noor cinched 7th.

On Wednesday, the teams for the Nations Cup warmed up in their training session. With both Jack and Shane selected to represent Team Ireland. Not only was Jack making his senior Nations Cup debut this week, but it was also a debut for his homebred Irish 10-year-old BBS McGregor. Lady Star van Doperheide was stepping up to her first team event as well, under the expert riding of Shane. The rest of Michael Blake’s team was made of Shane’s brother Trevor and Anthony Condon.

However, there was still jumping to come before. On the Thursday, Jack expertly piloted Cuick Star Kervec around the 3* 1.45 Jump Off Class to slot into 9th place. Yet another fantastic result for this up-and-coming horse. Shane jumped Gait L for a lovely round in the 2* 1.40 to pick up 6th place, whilst Georgia schooled the Old Lodge Stud’s Haya around for a clear round. The highlight of the day was Georgia winning the 2* 1.40 on her own homebred Donavaya – well done Georgia!

On Friday, Lady Star van Doperheide jumped clear in the 3* 1.40 and looked ready for Sunday. Georgia spun Donavaya around the 2* 1.40 again for another top result, taking home 5th place. Saturday was a quieter day. Shane aboard the Kennedy brother’s KBS Major Player, jumped around the 3* 1.40 speed class for 3rd place. Georgia then piloted the wonderful Haya around the 2* Grand Prix for an exciting 5th place – what a mare!

Sunday was the much-awaited Nations Cup. With 17 nations represented in Portugal, it was a nail biter from start to finish. The four strong Irish team stepped up to the plate and impressed the crowds. Anthony Condon was first in the ring, and jumped some solid rounds, aiding the Irish team with a clear in the second round. Jack and McGregor’s debut couldn’t have gone better with an unlucky fence in the first round and a clear in the second, this pairing keeps on showing us what they are made of. Lady Star and Shane made the third leg of the team, and the mare jumped her heart out to show what a horse she is for the future. Team anchor was Trevor Breen who jumped one of only five double clears in the class, to secure the win for team Ireland. What a day and what a result – a huge thanks and congratulations to all involved!

With the horses headed back home, we couldn’t of wished for a better tour and ended on a high. Thank you Vilamoura – we can’t wait to be back next year!