Equestrian: Paul O’Shea wins feature class at Palm Beach Masters
Ireland’s international show jumping riders are in action worldwide this weekend
Paul O’Shea was victorious in Florida. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
Ireland’s international show jumping riders are in action worldwide this weekend, starting timewise in Hong Kong and finishing in Wellington Florida where, on Friday, the feature class at the Palm Beach Masters at Deeridge Farm, the Longines Grand Prix, was won by Paul O’Shea riding Imerald van’t Voorhof.
From a field of 44 starters, which included four Irish riders, 15 combinations went clear over the 1.60m first round track designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade. Limerick native O’Shea was joined in the jump-off by Cork’s Shane Sweetnam who eventually finished 13th having a pole down in 37.83 with Spy Cost Farm’s Kirschwasser SCF.
O’Shea meanwhile was one of only three riders to go double clear, stopping the clock on 36.03 to claim the $69,300 first prize, and record his first five-star Grand Prix success, on Tequestrian Farms’ 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding Imerald van’t Voorhof. The USA’s Margie Goldstein-Engle finished second on Royce (36.78) with Colombia’s Juan Manuel Gallego placing third on Coulash van de Broy Z (39.36).
With Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu, O’Shea is a member of the Michael Blake-manged Irish squad who will line-out in the opening Longines FEI Nations’ Cup of the season at Deeridge Farm on Sunday. The other squad members are Cormac Hanley (VDL Cartello), who was fourth in Thursday night’s 1.55m jump-off class, Shane Sweetnam (Indra van de Oude Heihoef), Conor Swail (Rubens LS La Silla) and Darragh Kenny (Babalou 41).
Earlier on Friday, at the five-star Masters in Hong Kong, Tipperary’s Denis Lynch and Wexford’s Bertram Allen were among seven riders to progress to the jump off round of the 1.50m Hong Kong Jockey Trophy.
Both were also clear in the timed round, Lynch finishing fourth on Chablis (36.28) with Allen slotting into sixth on Izzy By Picobello (36.72). The Irish pair were split by Egypt’s Sameh El Dahan riding Co Antrim owner Joanne Sloan Allen’s Irish Sport Horse mare Suma’s Zorro (36.53). The class was won by Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts on H&M Cue Channa (34.72).
In Europe, there were placings for Michael G. Duffy on Escoffier in the 1.45m speed class at Neumunster in Germany and for Ciaran Nallon on Zaronda II (1.40m speed) and Mikey Pender with Casanova van Overis Z (1.45m jump-off) in Vilamoura, Portugal.
At home, this weekend sees the start of the Showjumpers Club 1.35m Spring Tour with 45 horses declared for Sunday’s opening round at JAG Equestrian outside Naas.