Equestrian: Olympian Holstein comes third on Sambuca

Irish rider places in four-star dressage at the Royal Windsor Horse Show on Friday

Irish Olympian Heike Holstein and her home-bred mare Sambuca scored 74.915 per cent to finish third in the four-star dressage Grand Prix kür (freestyle to music) at the Royal Windsor Horse Show on Friday evening.

This was just a second Grand Prix kür start as a combination for the Co Kildare mother of two and the 10-year-old Sambuca which is by Samarant and was bred by the rider and her husband William Bell out of the Limmerick mare Astoria.

“Sambuca is a natural performer.” said Holstein. “She really shined in the arena here at Windsor. Sambuca is only a 10-year-old in her first big tour international season and she had to deal with very wet conditions in the Grand Prix yesterday when we scored 70 per cent (placing fifth). She came back today and scored nearly 75 per cent in the freestyle, in front of a huge crowd, which really shows how much more there is to come from this wonderful mare.”

The 10-starter kür went to Thursday’s Grand Prix winner, the host nation’s Charlotte Dujardin on Erlentanz (81.900 per cent) with another British rider, Richard Davison, finishing second on Bubblingh (78.310). Ireland’s second rider in the competition, Dane Rawlins, was ninth with Espoire (66.970) on which, in a downpour, he qualified for this year’s European championships in Rotterdam when filling the same place in Thursday’s Grand Prix.

This wasn’t the only good news from the dressage section of the show as the Northern Ireland quintet of Charlotte Keers, Kerry Magill, Fergal McKinney, Laura King and Jazmin Vollands won the inaugural running of The Pony Club home dressage team competition.

Three Irish riders are also competing in the international five-star show jumping section at Windsor where in Friday's 1.45m two-phase competition won by Britain's Holly Smith on Fruselli (26.11), Wexford native Bertram Allen finished second on GK Casper (26.81) while Tipperary-born Shane Breen was sixth with Clyde VA (27.37). Riding Izzy By Picobello, Allen finished second (37.17) in the later 1.55m jump-off class won by Belgium's Gregory Wathelet on Spike vd Withoeve (36.59).

Competing at two-star level in Fontainebleau, France, Kilkenny native Ivan Dalton finished third with Lord BI (43.49) in the 1.45m jump-off class behind the French pair of Alix Ragot on Coco Rico (42.25) and Adj Donatien Schauly riding Sprinter du Dorst Mili (42.33). At Lexington in Kentucky, Co Offaly’s Darragh Kenny dominated Friday’s 1.45m jump-off class as he won on Artisan Farms’ Christos (42.508) and placed second and fifth with Sweet Tricia (42.539) and Cazador LS (43.941).

At home, the second leg of the Irish Sport Horse show jumping series for young horses takes place this weekend at Barnadown in Co Wexford where 63 entries have been received for Sunday’s round of The Underwriting Exchange national 1.40cms Grand Prix series.

In eventing, there are three Irish riders - Sam Watson (Tullabeg Flamenco), Cathal Daniels (Rioghan Rua) and Susie Berry (Stonedge) - among the 30 competing in the first leg of the 2019 Event Rider Masters series taking place this weekend at Chatsworth House in England.

Meath’s Sarah Ennis, who rides Woodcourt Garrison in another of the CCI4*-S classes at the Derbyshire venue, competed in Friday’s Dubarry Burghley young event horse qualifier where she finished fourth in the five-year-old section on Joan O’Connor’s grey Frankfort Boy mare, Greenhall Granuaile.