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Ireland's show jumpers win in Portugal and Canada

Ireland's show jumpers have recorded two major victories overnight at Lisbon in Portugal and at British Colombia in Canada.

The Irish team, led by Chef d'Equipe Taylor Vard, proved unbeatable in the three-star Longines FEI Nations Cup at Lisbon in Portugal, where a high-scoring contest saw Tipperary's Trevor Breen deliver the only double clear of the competition with Bombay.

Ireland were in joint second at the halfway stage thanks to clears from Breen and Waterford's Anthony Condon riding SFS Aristio, along with an 8 fault score from Limerick's Paul Kennedy with Cartown Danger Mouse (ISH).

Breen's second clear round with Bombay saw Ireland put pressure on leaders Belgium and four fault scores from Condon and from Galway's Michael Duffy riding Jule Van Den Tinnenpot, saw Ireland finish out in front on a two round total of 16 faults.

Trevor Breen, Michael Duffy, Taylor Vard (Chef d'Equipe), Paul Kennedy and Anthony Condon on the podium after victory in the Lisbon Nations Cup last night.

Asked afterwards if having Irish course designer, Alan Wade, helped Ireland win, Ireland's Chef d'Equipe Taylor Vard said: "No not really, Alan is pretty fair and he was tough on all of us. It was a great competition.

"Congratulations to Belgium and to the United States, they gave us a good fight, but it was our night."

Belgium finished as runners-up on 21 faults while USA finished third of the nine teams that took part on 28 faults.

The Irish national anthem also rang out in the early hours of this morning across the Atlantic, where Derry's Daniel Coyle came out on top in the $235,000 five-star Longines Grand Prix at Langley's Nations Cup show in Canada.

Coyle and the Ariel Grange-owned Cita proved unbeatable in what was the first five-star Grand Prix in the 45-year history of Thunderbird Show Park.

Six of the 34 starters made it into the second round, with Coyle taking the top prize after jumping clear again against the clock in a time of 40.98 seconds.

Canada's Mario Deslauriers and Bardolina finished second in 42.02, while Eugenio Garza Perez of Mexico produced the only other double clear round with Armani SL Z to finish third in 43.29.

“I’m not quite sure [where I won the class], but from talking to people outside, I’d say it was probably back to the second-last fence,” Coyle said.

“I was very tight there, and there was a hedge behind it, which made it not easy to jump, and I took a big risk there, and that’s probably what did it.”

The win marked Coyle’s second five-star grand prix victory of the year, after topping the Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix CSI5* in Wellington in March. Coyle said his and his mount’s partnership has reached a new level in 2018.

“It took me a little bit in the beginning to figure out which way she likes to go and where she likes to jump the bigger fences easier,” he said.

“She likes you to be very nice to her, just like any girl does. She’s very sweet horse, and the more you believe in her, the more she believes in herself. That’s probably the biggest thing I had to learn.”