Equestrian: Captain Brian Cournane finishes fifth in New York

Kerry rider pick of the Irish on grey Dutchwarmblood gelding Dino in Longines Masters

Captain Brian Cournane finished fifth in the €400,000 Longines Masters of New York Grand Prix on Sunday.

Kerry native Cournane and Co Offaly’s Darragh Kenny were the only two Irish riders in the 1.60m competition and both were among the 12 who advanced to the second round. Kenny was carrying four faults from his first round on Cassini Z but, against the clock, Ann Thompson’s 12-year-old gelding left all the poles standing which saw the combination eventually finish seventh.

Cournane was the first of those to jump who had gone clear over the first round track designed by Germany's Frank Rothenberger. Again his mount, the grey Dutchwarmblood gelding Dino, which he owns in partnership with his parents-in-law, Bob and Christine Stiller, recorded a clear round in a time of 45.88.

In the end, this was just good enough for fifth as Egypt's Nayel Nassar and Lucifer V, winners of Friday's Longines speed challenge, claimed the winner's purse of €132,000 in 38.59. Behind them, The Netherlands' Harrie Smolders was second on Une de l'Othain (39.46), Belgium's Olivier Philippaerts finished third with H&M Cue Channa 42 (40.93) and Israel's Daniel Bluman slotted into fourth on Ladriano Z (41.95).

Staying in the United States, the Irish-bred Cooley Master Class recorded a second successive success in the Land Rover Kentucky three-day-event under Britain's Oliver Townend. The combination completed the three phases of the five-star competition on a total of 25.3 penalty points while Britain's Piggy French finished fourth on another Irish Sport Horse gelding, the 12-year-old Clover Echo gelding, Quarrycrest Echo (33.5).

Townend's winning ride, which was sourced for him by Richard Sheane of Cooley Farm in Co Wicklow, is a 14-year-old gelding by Ramiro B. He was bred in the garden county by John Hagan out of the Master Imp mare, The Swallow.

At the three-star para dressage show in Waregem, Belgium, Ireland's Rosemary Gaffney scored 70.825 per cent with her 10-year-old Danish Warmblood mare Werona to finish third in Sunday's Grade 4 Kür (freestyle to music) competition. The honours went to The Netherlands' Lotte Krunsen riding Rosenstolz (73.735) ahead of Belgium's Manon Claeys on San Dior 2 (73.250).

At home, the opening leg of the 2019 Horse Sport Ireland/TRM Grand Prix series was held on Sunday at The Meadows Equestrian Centre outside Lurgan where eight of the 30 starters went through to the jump-off of the 1.50m competition.

Fastest of three riders to post a double clear was Captain Geoff Curran with the Minster for Defence's nine-year-old Capitalist gelding Glengarra Wood (36.90). Waterford's Gemma Phelan finished second on GRC Acapella (37.38) with Galway's Jessica Burke placing third on Express Trend (39.70).