Abu Dhabi: Samantha McIntosh on Check In clinched the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of UAE for team New Zealand after an absorbing jump-off against Ireland’s Shane Breen at the state-of-the-art Al Forsan International Sports Resort on Saturday. Both countries were locked on 12 faults at the end of two round.
In the jump-off, McIntosh completed a clear round in 40.16 seconds to put Irish rider Shane Breen under the pump. Breen, on Laith, couldn’t match that effort as they hit the third fence and collected 17 faults in total to settle for the second spot.
The success was a huge shot in the arm of team New Zealand comprising of Daniel Meech on Fine, Richard Gardener on Calisto, Bruce Goodin on Backatorps Danny V, McIntosh on Check In and Chef d’Equipe Ulrika Goodin. For their effort they were richer by €64,000 and also a place in the final in Barcelona in October.
“I’m not sure where it came from today, I think we are all in shock. It’s been a long journey for us to get here and we all supported each other as a team. In terms of the jump off, I didn’t really have time to be nervous, I just thought ‘Lets do it’! My horse has also been on great form which probably helped,” said a jubilant McIntosh, who also shared a bonus €50,000 prize fund with Ireland’s David Simpson for completing two clear rounds during the Nations Cup.
Having finished on 20 points from two rounds, the Italians finished on third spot ahead of hosts UAE and Saudi Arabia. Both UAE and Saudi were tied for fourth and have also automatically qualify for the Barcelona final.
New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Ireland and Italy shared the lead at the halfway mark with just four faults. Though Saudi team lost the way later, the Italians could have made it for the jump off had Natale Chiaudani kept all the poles intact in the second round. That didn’t happen and McIntosh was pitted against Breen in the third-round race against the clock.
“We are extremely happy with this successful event following all the hard work or our team in cooperation with FEI, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and all the partners. It has been fantastic to see so many members of the public attending the event. We hope that the riders, coaches and officials have enjoyed attending this event in Abu Dhabi and we look forward to welcoming them again in the future,” said Ahmad Nasser Al Raisi, President of UAEERF.