Equestrian: Irish riders fill top two places in Belgium

Jonty Evans posts Facebook video of him running on treadmill as recovery continues

Darragh Kenny recorded the fastest of five double clears in Belgium. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Darragh Kenny recorded the fastest of five double clears in Belgium. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

It was a relatively quiet weekend for Ireland’s international show jumpers with the best result coming on Sunday at Opglabbeek in Belgium where Irish riders filled the top two placings in the 1.55m Grand Prix.

Ten combinations qualified for the jump-off of this three-star class with Co Offaly’s Darragh Kenny recording the fastest of five double clears on the 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding Carlson 93 (36.84) ahead of Tipperary native Denis Lynch riding Dito (37.91).

At home, the last major jumping show of the year, the five-day Cavan indoor international, concluded late on Sunday with a win in The Auction Night 1.40m Grand Prix for Alex Butler riding Neal Fearon’s 10-year-old Upgrade gelding Dekato. The earlier Jim Derwin Bloodstock 1.30m power and speed class was landed by Shane Goggins on the seven-year-old Kannan mare, Carrow Kavanann.

Young Co Galway rider Tim MacDonagh had more than three seconds in hand when he claimed Saturday afternoon’s Farnham Arms Hotel jump-off class on Jackie Lee’s 11-year-old Beowulf mare Tick Tock Tina while the evening’s feature event, the Cavan County Council 1.40m speed class, was won by John Floody and Francis Hughes’s 10-year-old Jacomar gelding, Ballyknock Diamond.

Late on Saturday night, the Kingsland Puissance event went the way of Nano Healy with his own 11-year-old Clinton mare KMS Clintland. On Sunday, the Westmeath competitor was the recipient of the Benny Kuehnle talented young rider award having been selected by the late rider’s father Hans.

Kuehnle was also remembered on Friday night with the running of the Benny Kuehnle 10th anniversary Pieta House charity vintage riders speed chase which was won by Co Clare’s Michael Blake, Horse Sport Ireland’s development squad team manager. In addition to the class, Paul Cocoman organised a fund-raising auction in aid of SOSAD Ireland with items including training with some of the world’s top riders.

Followers of the sport of eventing were delighted to see a posting on Jonty Evans’s Facebook page last week of the England-based Irish international rider running on a treadmill at the Injured Jockeys Fund’s Oaksey House rehabilitation centre in Lambourn.

The 47-year-old suffered a severe head injury in a fall on the cross-country course at the Tattersalls international horse trials in early June and spent six weeks in a coma, first at Beaumont and then the Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown. On his return to England, he continued his recovery at the Walton Centre in Liverpool.

In his posting, Evans paid tribute to the efforts of Co Meath racehorse trainer Sneezy (Denise) Foster who has organised help for him through the David Foster Injured Riders Fund.

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