An Irish team representing the Association of Irish Riding Clubs finished in sixth place after a strong performance at the CSO Mondial des Clubs (World Club Tournament) at the Generali Open Clubs de France last week.
Twelve nations contested the tournament, which is a three round contest over two days, including Belgium, Cambodia, Chile, Great Britain, India, Italy, Luxembourg, Morocco, Sweden, Turkey and the hosts, France.
The Irish team of Aaron Evans (Killmarley Sunny Jim), Roisin Ni Rioc (Colin Clover), Dean O’Neill (Rapide d’Elle) and Amy Smyth (Mallard Spark) were in eighth place on 8 penalties after the opening round where they were drawn first to jump in what were very hot conditions.
Aaron Evans produced the teams only clear round on Killmarley Sunny Jim while the remaining riders each returned with a pole on the floor.
The team, however, fought back in the second round after they added just 3 penalties after Evans again produced a clear on his 12-year-old brown gelding. Amy Smyth was next best after the Bailieborough resident picked up one-time penalty while Roisin Ni Rioc also picked up two-time penalties. Dean O’Neill, who had the unenviable task of riding a hired horse, provided the discount score of 15.
This moved them up to third place overall behind Great Britain on 1 penalty with Italy on 8 in second. Belgium, France, and Chile, however, were just behind Ireland on 12 penalties.
The conditions took their toll on the team in the third round where they racked up a further 12 penalties added to finish on 23 in sixth place overall. Amy Smyth, however, produced a magnificent clear round on Mallard Spark for the team.
Great Britain kept their cool to maintain their position at the top after the third round where they added just 4 penalties to finish on a total of 5 to claim the honours ahead of Italy in second on 8 penalties. Belgium claimed the third place on 16 penalties.
Team Irelands Chef d”Equipe Katie Smyth said
Each rider performed wonderfully and represented Ireland extremely well this year with riding some of their best rounds to date. They kept their energy and enthusiasm in such hot conditions.
“We received a warm welcome from the French Federation and the interaction with the other was extraordinary,” she added.
1st Great Britain 5 penalties
2nd Italy 8
3rd Belgium 16
4th France 20 (183,38)
5th Chile 20 (224,03)
6th Ireland 23