Ireland's Anthony Condon won Saturday afternoon's 1.50m jump-off class at the five-star show in Lummen, Belgium with the Dutch warmblood gelding Balzac which he owns in partnership with Kat Taylor.
One of five riders to progress to the second round from a starting line-up of 53, Waterford-born Condon produced the only double clear on the 11-year-old Oklund gelding in a time of 45.08 seconds. Sweden’s Angelie Von Essen finished second when Bydalens Qamaieu de Montsec had a pole down in 44.54 while Italy’s Juan Carlow Garcia was third having picked up eight faults in 43.88.
This win provided a welcome change of luck for Condon who was denied a potential win on Balzac in last weekend’s Grand Prix in Eschweiler when the bit in the horse’s mouth broke in half two fences from home, forcing the rider to retire.
In the evening’s Flanders Derby, Co Down’s Dermott Lennon finished second with Victoria Loane’s Irish Sport Horse gelding Gelvins Touch.
There were no clears over the first round 1.60m track and, in fact, the five combinations who got through to the timed round did so on eight faults apiece. Four clears were recorded over the shortened track, Lennon’s time of 45.53 on the 11-year-old Touchdown grey being bettered by The Netherlands’ Johnny Pals riding Urjul van Generhese (43.95).
Earlier in the day, Co Offaly’s Darragh Kenny maintained his good form at the five-star show in Shanghai, when, on board Kerry Anne McCahill’s Charly Chaplin S, he finished fifth (77.81) in the 1.60m speed competition won by France’s Roger Yves Bost on Pegase du Murier (73.21).
As the USA’s Jack Towell also jumped clear to place seventh (78.18) with Lucifer V, their team, the Paris Panthers, won the won the Chinese round of the Global Champions’ League on a zero score in 155.99 ahead of the Hamburg Diamonds (0, 161.94) and the London Knights (4, 151.57).
The reigning champions, Valkenswaard United, whose line-up includes Co Wexford's Bertram Allen, finished fourth which sees them still lead the league on 74 points after this third leg with the London Knights in second (68) and the St Tropez Pirates in third (60).
In dressage, Ireland’s Roland Tong placed sixth in the three-star Grand Prix Kür (freestyle to music) at Saumur, France on Saturday evening having achieved a score of 72.050per cent with his own and Sandra Kirkpatrick’s 12-year-old Trento B gelding Rybrook Ambience. The winner, on 74.300, was the USA’s Jennifer Hoffmann riding XXXL Rubinio NRW.
At the four-star Rolex international horse trials in Kentucky, there were plenty of changes at the top of the leaderboard following Saturday’s cross-country phase.
Bidding for a third successive victory on the same horse, Germany’s dual Olympic champion Michael Jung now tops the scoring with the 12-year-old Ituango mare fischerRocana FST on 38.7 penalties which included 1.6 for time on Saturday’s phase. French rider Maxime Livio, one of five riders to make the optimum time, moved up from eighth to second (44.6) with Qalao des Mers.
Britain's Zara Tindell likewise beat the clock and moved up from 16th to third (46.6) with Trevor Hemmings' Irish Sport Horse gelding High Kingdom. The 16-year-old by Master Imp was bred out of the Chairlift mare High Dolly in Co Wicklow by William Micklem who is at the event as a member of the support crew of Ireland's Aidan Keogh.
Disappointingly for the south Co Dublin businessman, he had a run-out at fence four with Paddy Hughes's Master Tredstep and, on 107 penalties, now lies in 34th place. Meanwhile, US-based Co Mayo native Tim Bourke, who recorded the fastest round of the day, jumped from 41st to ninth with the OBOS Quality 004 gelding Luckaun Quality which was bred in Co Laois by Ronan Sheehan out of the Cavalier Royale mare Colwyn Bay.
The USA’s Clark Montgomery, Kim Severson and Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp, who had been lying first, third and fourth, after dressage on the ISH geldings Loughan Glen, Cooley Cross Border and Fernhill By Night have all dropped out of the reckoning, the first-named being the only one left in the competition but in 33rd place. The highest-placed home rider is now Matthew Brown who is lying fourth on 47.8 penalties with Super Socks BCF, an 11-year-old chestnut gelding which competed in Ireland under the name Fernhill Flaxen.