Ireland’s Andrew Bourns and Seatop Blue were the winners of the 2022 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of Canada at Langley’s Thunderbird Show Park on Sunday, June 5. (Photo by tbird/Quinn Saunders/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Ireland’s Andrew Bourns and Seatop Blue were the winners of the 2022 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of Canada at Langley’s Thunderbird Show Park on Sunday, June 5. (Photo by tbird/Quinn Saunders/Special to Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Ireland wins Nations Cup of Canada at Langley’s Thunderbird Show Park

Canada’s fourth-place finish clinches spot at Nations Cup finals in Spain

Ireland won the big one at Langley’s Thunderbird Show Park (tbird) on Sunday.

Chef d’Equipe Michael Blake’s squad has made the podium in every Nations Cup event since 2017, and they recorded their second win in that span on June 5 at tbird, running away with the $400,000 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of Canada.

“Every result here is special,” Blake said. “It took me a year to figure out how to win, but we haven’t been off the podium. We’ve had mixed teams here. We’ve had to cajole people onto teams here. But this year we prioritized this event.”

The four-man squad of Daniel Coyle (Legacy), Andrew Bourns (Seatop Blue), Shane Sweetnam (James Kann Cruz) and Conor Swail (Count Me In) dominated the feature event of the Odlum Brown BC Open and the only qualifier in the country for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup finals in Barcelona this fall.

Coyle, Bourns and Sweetnam each contributed a clear round for their team, which put Ireland so far ahead in the second round that team anchor Conor Swail — tbird’s winningest rider — did not have to jump a second time.

Mexico rallied in the second round to finish second, with Australia third.

While it wasn’t the home team’s day, Canada’s fourth-place finish secured their qualification for the Nations Cup Finals.

Team Ireland took the podium at tbird after winning the 2022 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of Canada on on Sunday, June 5. (Photo by Cealy Tetley, tbird/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Team Ireland took the podium at tbird after winning the 2022 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of Canada on on Sunday, June 5. (Photo by Cealy Tetley, tbird/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Ireland last won the event in 2018, and both Coyle and Swail were on that squad.

Olympic veteran Sweetnam, riding exciting 9-year-old James Kann Cruz, and Bourns, with his family’s protege Seatop Blue joined the lineup for 2022 and produced the team’s best scores.

Seatop Blue—scouted by Bourns’ family as a foal — produced just one of two double-clear rounds on the day, while James Kann Cruz had just a single time fault in the second round.

“My father is here, so it’s a real family affair,” Bourns said. “I have to say, [Seatop Blue] is just as part of the family as I am.”

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A little rain on the grass field that makes up tbird’s Fort Grand Prix Arena didn’t hurt. “If you knew it was going to be raining and on grass, I think Ireland would be a good bet,” said tbird President Chris Pack. “We’re very appreciative of all the teams that came, and especially Ireland, putting this as a priority.”

VIDEO: Langley’s Mark Laskin returns to show jumping with Team Mexico

Also on Sunday, Mexico’s Federica Fernandez won the BB Equestrian Junior Grand Prix, the final event of the Odlum Brown BC Open’s international division for junior riders, a day after Team Mexico topped the podium in Junior Nations Cup.

Fernandez, 16, and Seltique bested a compact jump-off field that saw just three riders execute a clear first round over course designer Peter Holmes’ (CAN) 1.40m track.


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