SHOW JUMPING - IRELAND WINS FOURTH NATIONS CUP OF SEASON
The European Championship team of Kevin Babington, Peter Charles, Jessica Kurten and Dermott Lennon took victory in their final Nations Cup outing of the 2000/2001 season at Spruce Meadows Canada today, Sunday (Saturday- Canadian time), with anchorman Dermott Lennon once again snatching triumph for Ireland in his final round by just one fence.
Lennon had produced the same magic at Hickstead in July, winning the British Nations Cup with a final clear round. He had also cemented Ireland's European Championship Gold Medal at Arnhem in the Netherlands at the end of June by going clear once again in the final Irish round.
To win the nations Cup at Spruce Meadows, however, Lennon needed to incur a maximum of four faults as last man in, and did just that, with only one fence down to beat a strong USA team into Second Place.
Each Irish rider receives Canadian $16,250 (!R£9,000) in Prize Money for the Spruce Meadows Nations Cup win.
Ireland's three other Nations Cup victories this season have been Lummen, Belgium; Falsterbo, Sweden (both on July 13); and Hickstead, England (July 27). Ireland also won the Nations Cup at Spruce Meadows in September of 2000, bringing the country's tally of wins in the 99/2000 Series to ten.
Irish international selectors, however, have decided not to enter an Irish team for the Samsung Nations Cup World Final in Madrid later this month, due to the excessive strain it might place on the horses and riders who will be returning from Canada during the coming week.
Peter Charles said after the Spruce Meadows victory: "These horses are not machines. This will be a tough week by the time they finish. We feel for the horses that we have here. It's very hard on them to keep going on the schedule, there's so many finals. We're putting our horses first. That's the reason why we think it's a bit too much to go."
SHOW JUMPING RESULT: CSIO SPRUCE MEADOWS CANADA 5-9 SEPTEMBER 2001
$200,000 BANK OF MONTREAL Nations' Cup
1.3m - 2.2m International Open Jumper Sec. II
September 8 (Canadian Time)
1) IRELAND 24
Carling King; Kevin Babington 8/4
Corrada; Peter Charles 0/4
Bonita 38; Jessica Kurten 12/8
Liscalgot; Dermott Lennon 4/4
Chef d'Equipe: Eddie Macken
2) USA 28
3) GERMANY 31
4) SWITZERLAND 35
5) NETHERLANDS 44
6) CANADA 46
7) FRANCE (not in second round)