Equestrian: Darragh Kenny takes fourth in Paris
Kenny was also crowned the Royal Dublin Society international rider of the year over the weekend
Irish Commercials Young Horse Championship Medalists Eddie Maloney, Clare Hughes, Seamus Hughes Kennedy and Barry Horan of Irish Commercials pictured at the Annual Awards Evening. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Co Offaly’s Darragh Kenny finished fourth, behind an all-French trio, in the five-star €300,000 Longines Masters Grand Prix in Paris on Sunday.
Kenny was the only one of three Irish riders in the 1.60m competition to progress to the six-strong jump-off where, again going clear, he stopped the clock on 36.69 with his own and Ann Thompson’s nine-year-old Colestus gelding Classic Dream. Simon Delestre, Kevin Staut and Roger-Yves Bost finished filled the top three spots with Hermes Ryan (35.34), For Joy van’t Zorgvliet (35.65) and Sangria du Coty (36.05) respectively.
On Saturday night, Kenny partnered SRB Stables’ Dabelle to finish fifth in the 1.50m speed class while on Friday he was a member of Team Europe who saw off the challenge of Team America to win the Riders Masters Cup.
Fourteen of Europe’s leading pony riders also competed in Paris over the weekend with Co Down’s John McEntee faring best of the three-strong Irish contingent when winning Saturday’s 1.25m speed class on Marion Hughes’s Irish Sport Horse mare Carrickaduff Pet on which he finished fourth in Sunday’s 1.30m jump-off competition.
Co Meath’s Cian O’Connor concluded his weekend at the two-star show in Opglabbeek, Belgium with a win in Sunday’s 1.45m Grand Prix on Lazzaro Delle Schiave (40.72), a 10-year-old Italian-bred gelding which is a recent addition to the rider’s Ronnoco Jump string. Co Kildare’s Mikey Pender finished fourth on HHS Calais (42.18) with Co Tyrone’s Jenny Rankin placing fifth on Quentin (42.67).
As he was competing in Paris over the weekend, Kenny missed Saturday’s Irish Show Jumping Awards night in the Killashee House Hotel, Naas where he was crowned the Royal Dublin Society international rider of the year. The 31-year-old, who has maintained his position as No 8 in the world in the most recently-published FEI rankings, divides his time between the USA and The Netherlands. He has recorded 23 FEI victories this year on 11 individual horses.
The Connolly’s Red Mills international young rider of the year was Mikey Pender who, in June, at the age of 19, became the youngest winner of the famed Hickstead Derby in which he was making his debut on Hearton du Bois Halleeux. Winner of the Jack Dodd trophy for rookie of the year was Co Kilkenny’s Susan Fitzpatrick (20).
The Showjumping Ireland national champion for 2019 is Co Waterford’s Francis Connors with Hugh Fitzpatrick’s 12-year-old ISH mare Erne Ladygoldilocks while, riding her family’s German-bred Afrika, Co Tyrone’s Anabelle Heffron (16) was crowed the Flexi Equine Tack Lockers national young rider champion. The Tredstep Ireland award for groom of the year went to Niamh Quinn who grooms for Claremorris rider, Shane Goggins.