Brilliant Ireland storm to victory in Norwegian Nations Cup for second year in-a-row as Jason Foley shines on debut

Jason Foley and Castlefied Vegas (ISH) (Photo: Laurence Dunne/ Jason Foley and Castlefied Vegas (ISH) (Photo: Laurence Dunne/

One of the stand-out performances came from Carlow teenager Jason Foley, who jumped double clear on his Nations Cup debut with the Martin Egan-owned Irish Sport Horse Castlefield Vegas – one of just two double clear rounds in the competition. Today’s performance comes two years after Foley and Castlefield Vegas won the Gold medal at the U18 European Championships and more recently the pair were winners of the Horse Sport Ireland Premier Series Grand Prix at Barnadown in Co Wexford.

Drammen has proved a lucky venue for Ireland over the years, with no less than five Irish Nations Cup victories recorded there over the last 30 years, including three wins since 2017.

Ireland were in a share of the lead with Britain at the halfway stage with both teams on just four faults. Tipperary’s Shane Breen gave Ireland the perfect start when he jumped clear with the Team Z7-owned Z7 Ipswich. Clare’s Eoin McMahon with Chacon 2, owned by Madeleine Winter-Schulze, finished with a single fence down before Carlow’s Jason Foley jumped an excellent clear round with the Martin Egan-owned Irish Sport Horse Castlefield Vegas. Mayo’s Michael G Duffy was last to go for the Irish in round one and finished with one fence down aboard Lapuccino 2  – an Irish Sport Horse owned by Carl Hanley Sporthorses.

The second round saw Breen and Ipswich finish with one fence down, while a perfect clear from Eoin McMahon and Chacon left Ireland still tied with Britain in the lead with two riders remaining. When Foley completed his flawless performance with Castlefield Vegas (ISH), Ireland pulled clear of Britain after their third rider had a fence down. Duffy’s clear when last to go with Lapuccino 2 (ISH) confirmed Ireland as winners, finishing with two fences in hand over Britain and Denmark who shared second place. Germany would finish fourth, while the home team from Norway took fifth.

Speaking afterwards, Irish manager Michael Blake was delighted with how his team performed:
“Shane got us off to a great start and then Eoin’s horse went a bit green in front of the double for some reason and he looked at it a little again in the second round but Eoin did a great job with him. Jason was superb, his first Nations Cup and only 19 years of age, he was incredible. Michael was really unlucky in the first round and got a deserved clear when last to go. The team really pulled together in the second round with three clear rounds in-a-row.

“This was our sixth win this week at this show. All of the riders who came here including Harry Allen and Jack Ryan who won the Derby did a fantastic job and we have won the Grand Prix and the Nations Cup three times here in the last four years. Some of the lads bypassed other competitions here to target the Nations Cup and they deserve enormous credit. We didn’t come to take part, we came to take over and that is what we did. I want to thank all our riders, the show organiser in Drammen Eric Walberg and thank our owners, grooms and all the support staff at Horse Sport Ireland.”

Horse Sport Ireland CEO Ronan Murphy added:

“I want to congratulate Michael Blake and his team on a fantastic performance in winning today’s Nations Cup in Drammen. The result comes just a week after another great performance when finishing as runners-up at the Nations Cup in Prague. It was particularly good to see this victory being achieved with a largely young group of riders and of course with two Irish Sport Horses playing such an important role. Of course a special word of thanks to all of our owners and sponsors as we celebrate a brilliant victory for Ireland.”

Jason Foley and Castlefied Vegas (ISH) (Photo: Laurence Dunne/