McAuley loses out to local charge in Rome
Michael Blake's Irish team goes into today's Intesa San Paolo Nations Cup at CSIO Rome in flying form after good results in yesterday's opening classes.
And if Cian O'Connor, Mark McAuley, Darragh Kenny and Peter Moloney succeed in winning today's team event, they will be the first Irish side to do so in the 87-year history of the event staged in the beautiful Piazza di Siena.
O'Connor finished third with Baronescha and Moloney lined up directly behind him in fourth with the mare, Ghana, in yesterday's opener staged in the Gallopatoio sand arena. And when the action moved across to the main grass arena later, it seemed McAuley was going to be the runaway winner of the JLT MAG Two-Phase.
The target-time of 25.62 which he set when third to go with the 10-year-old mare Valentino Tuiiere seemed impossible to beat, until three Italian riders suddenly burst into contention in the closing stages to push McAuley down into fourth place.