Equestrian: Richard Howley lands biggest career win in Spain

Irish rider lands the Grand Prix de Gijón and is crowned show’s leading rider on Sunday

Richard Howley celebrates victory in Spain with his horse Dolores. Alberto Morante/EPA

Richard Howley celebrates victory in Spain with his horse Dolores. Alberto Morante/EPA

 

Ireland’s Richard Howley recorded one of the biggest wins of his career when landing the Grand Prix de Gijón on Sunday evening at the Spanish five-star venue.

Thirteen combinations went through to the second round of the 1.60m competition, 12 on a zero score plus Co Limerick’s Paul Kennedy who had recorded the fastest four faults on Cartown Danger Mouse. He also had a pole down in the second round where just four riders went double clear.

Fastest of them was Sligo native Howley who stopped the clock on 59.86 with Morgan Kent’s 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Dolores. Belgium’s Gilles Dunon finished second on Fou de Toi Vd Keihoeve (61.31) with The Netherlands’ Doron Kuipers placing third on Charley (63.47). Howley was crowned leading rider of the show having also won Saturday’s accumulator competition with Cruising Star.

At the Brussels Stephex Masters in Belgium, Tipperary’s Denis Lynch finished sixth in Sunday’s €300,000 Rolex five-star Grand Prix with the 10-year-old gelding The Sinner. Victory went to Germany’s Marcus Ehning with Comme Il Faut. Lynch was crowned leading rider of the five-star classes at the show while Peter Moloney was also the leading rider in the three-star competitions. Both Irishmen collected brand new STX 2 Horses Trucks which they will keep for one year.

Shane Sweetnam’s sequence of wins at Bridgehampton, New York, came to a halt on Sunday when he had to settle for second place - but with a nice pay-out of $60,000 - in the Hampton Classic Grand Prix.

Only five riders progressed to the second round of the 1.60m competition, Co Down’s Lorcan Gallagher failing to do so when having one fence down with the Dacantos Group’s Hunters Conlypso II to finish seventh.

In the jump-off round, four combinations again when clear, Sweetnam’s time of 41.24 on Sweet Oak Farm & Seabrook’s 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding Main Road being bettered only by that of local favourite Mclain Ward on HH Gigi’s Girl (39.32).

In addition to the class prize-money and a Longines watch, Cork native Sweetnam received a second watch as leading rider at the show which brings to an end the Hampton season. He was also presented with Longines watches for his wins on Friday and Saturday with Indra van de Oude Heihoef.

At home, a good weekend for the Army Equitation School’s Captain Geoff Curran continued when he won Sunday’s final round of the TRM/HSI New Heights 1.50m Grand Prix series on the Minister for Defence’s Ringwood Glen having recorded the fastest of three double clears. Victory in the series went to Co Tipperary’s Greg Broderick.

David Moran won the Irish Breeders Classic four-year-old championship with Robert McHugh’s Future Trend mare Cillrois Miss Trendy while Jack Ryan concluded his good weekend with victory in the IBC five and six-year-old grand final on his mother Marguerite’s home-bred Cardento gelding BBS McGregor.

In eventing, New Zealand’s Tim Price won the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials CCI4* competition on Ringwood Sky Boy, securing victory with one of just eight clear show jumping rounds on Sunday. Price completed on a penalty score of 27.3 with the 15-year-old Courage II gelding which was bred in Co Wexford by Myles Mahon.

Four show jumping penalties didn’t affect the final second place finish of last year’s winners, Britain’s Oliver Townend on Ballaghmor Class (31.9). However, a fence down did see his compatriots Piggy French (Vanir Kamira (35.1)) and Harry Meade (Away Cruising (35.1) drop below New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson and Britain’s Sarah Bullimore who both jumped clear on Swallow Springs (32.1) and Reve du Rouet (34.9) respectively.

Eight of the top 10 horses were bred in Ireland including the first three in the placings.

Unfortunately, England-based Co Meath rider Elizabeth Power lowered one of the coloured poles with the former racehorse Soladoun dropping two places to ninth (39.1), a difference of £4,000 in prize-money. Ciaran Glynn also had a fence down with November Night (44.8) but the north Co Dublin rider was presented with a miniature of the Land Rover perpetual challenge trophy as the highest-placed Burghley debutant.

Away from the main event, young Co Carlow rider Tiggy Hancock won Burghley’s 133cms Gold Cup on her mother Jane’s Corries Jack In A Box.

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