Ireland’s first Nations' Cup team of the 2012 season produced an impressive second place finish of 11 teams on Friday night in Florida with four clear rounds.
Lying third at the halfway mark after zero scores from Shane Sweetnam on Amaretto Darco and Cian with Blue Loyd (right), the Irish quartet went into the second round with just four faults.
Sweetnam faulted once in the final round, but Richie Moloney and the Irish-bred Slieveanorra improved on their first outing, delivering a zero score. Darragh Kerins and the Irish-bred mare Lisona repeated their first round single penalty, but Cian, who was anchor man, produced the team's only double clear round to leave the Irish on just eight team faults at the finish.
Germany won the four-star Nations' Cup on four faults, while Canada took third place on nine faults and the USA and Great Britain tied for fourth place on 22 faults apiece.
Afterwards Team Ireland’s show jumping manager Robert Splaine said: “I was very pleased with all four combinations. We were unlucky in the first round and that was where we could have been stronger.
“However, we were consistent throughout and Cian’s double clear was special. It was rewarding to improve our position from third to second in the second round.”
Cian himself said: "I’m so pleased how Blue Loyd and I are developing as a partnership. Tonight he jumped fantastic and I’m thrilled to have another world class horse to compete at the highest level again".
In addition Cian and KEC Alligator Alley slotted into third place in Saturday’s feature class - the one round speed.