Equestrian: Mikey Pender finishes third in Abu Dhabi

Germany’s Christian Ahlmann takes top honours four-star Al Shira’aa Grand Prix

Mikey Pender winning the Derby at Abu Dhabi on Friday with HHS Fortune.

Kildare’s Mikey Pender rounded off his trip to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates with a third-place finish on Saturday in the night’s four-star Al Shira’aa Longines Grand Prix.

Twenty-year-old Pender was one of 12 riders who contested the second round of the 1.50m-1.60m world cup class and one of four to record a double clear. In the jump-off, he briefly held the lead when stopping the clock on 39.88 seconds with the Hughes Bravo Ltd-owned Irish Sport Horse gelding HHS Calais, a nine-year-old by Cavalier Royale.

Ultimately, that time was only good enough for third as Germany’s Christian Ahlmann topped the final leaderboard with Solid Gold Z (39.16) ahead of Egypt’s Abdel Saïd riding Arpege du Ru (39.49). Britain’s Chad Fellows posted the only other double clear on Vinci du Beaufour (40.24).

On Friday, during this last of three international shows in January at the Al Shira’aa equestrian centre, Pender partnered Marion Hughes home-bred nine-year-old Catoki mare HHS Fortune to land the 1.40m Derby and win the first car of his career. In the earlier 1.45m Grand Prix for riders under 25, Kilkenny’s Jack Ryan (18) continued his good start to the season when recording the faster of just two double clears with the Kennedy Bros Sport Horses-owned KBS Major Player, an eight-year-old gelding by OBOS Quality 004.


Irish riders’ best results in Europe on Saturday came at the five-star show in Amsterdam, The Netherlands where Mayo’s Michael Duffy partnered Carl Hanley Sporthorses’ 12-year-old ISH gelding Lapuccino (31.58) into fourth place in the night’s 1.60m Grand Prix won by France’s Julien Epaillard on Toupie de la Roque (29.58). In the evening’s 1.45m jump-off class for riders under 25, Kilkenny’s Anna Carway and her mother Helen’s Ajaccio (35.23) finished fifth behind the host nation’s Elike Morsink with Dakina II (33.75).

At the Palm Beach Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida, Cork native Shane Sweetnam, riding Sweet Oak Farm and Seabrook LLC’s Karlin van’t Vennehof (45.677) finished second in Saturday night’s three-star Grand Prix to the USA’s Erin Davis-Heineking on Leonie (45.510)