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Irish side up against it despite Watson heroics

Despite a great performance from Sam Watson in the dressage phase of the Eventing Championship at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky yesterday, the Irish team will, once again, be fighting a rear-guard action going into today's cross-country competition.

Watson was the second of the three Irish riders in the ring yesterday, and with the homebred Horseware Bushman -- which he has partnered throughout his career -- he produced a polished test that earned a great score of 46.0.

And although Capt Geoff Curran and The Jump Jet also put up a good result with 50.2, the Irish total of 155.0, which included Patricia Ryan's 58.8 with Fernhill Clover Mist the previous day, was only good enough to register 11th of 14 teams at the end of the phase.

Irish individual Camilla Speirs got the day off to a start with a lovely test from 15.1hh Portersize Just A Jiff which put her into 43rd place.

Watson is lying 25th as the cross-country action begins today with Curran in 40th, Ryan in 60th and team member Mark Kyle 76th of the 80 starters.

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Irish Independent