Equestrian: Irish boss Splaine hits out at tournament schedule clash
The clash between the second leg of the Global Champions Tour in Hamburg and the opening round of the Meydan FEI Nations Cup super-league in La Baule, France, didn't stop Irish riders from getting into the frame at both events yesterday.
Denis Lynch and Nabab's Son won the Mercedes Championship at the German fixture, where he competes alongside Jessica Kuerten and Billy Twomey, while both Shane Sweetnam and Darragh Kenny impressed to take top-10 placings at the French fixture.
Ireland are drawn sixth to go in today's 10-nation contest and team manager Robert Splaine last night confirmed his side as Shane Breen (Carmena Z), Niall Talbot (Tequi d'I), Darragh Kenny (Obelix) and Cameron Hanley (Southwind VDL).
However, he was cautious about Ireland's chances in the series this season and criticised the event clash, which has robbed him of some of his best riders.
"Running two events of this calibre over the same weekend limits the choices for the nations cup teams.
"It used to be policy to ensure we didn't have calendar clashes like this, and for countries like Ireland, with a limited number of of horse-and-ride combinations, it makes the job doubly difficult," Splaine pointed out.
Sweetnam steered the nine- year-old mare Belle Bleu into seventh and Talbot finished 13th with Nicos de la Cense in the opening speed event at La Baule where, in the main competition of the late afternoon, Kenny and Obelix produced an impressive clear to finish seventh in the class won by Canada's Olympic champions Eric Lamaze and Hickstead.