Ireland’s Conor Swail finishes equal second at Arezzo

Irish underage riders won Sunday’s Junior and Pony Grands Prix in Belgium

Ireland's Conor Swail finished equal second in Sunday's four-star Grand Prix at Arezzo in Italy riding his own and Vanessa Mannix's Domino van de Valhoeve.

Thirteen combinations made it through to the jump-off round of the 1.55m competition including Mayo’s Cameron Hanley who briefly held the lead with Quirex before eventually finishing fifth (42.17).

Co Down native Swail took over top spot with a clear in 40.71 on the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Domino van de Valhoeve, a time matched by Poland’s Krzysztof on Stalando 2, but they had to share second place when home favourite Bruno Chimirri was faultless in 40.27 on Tower Mouche.

Earlier, Meath’s Alexander Butler won the 1.45m speed class when producing the fastest round with Wrenwood Stables and Jim Papp’s 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding Theoreme du Desir.


Meanwhile Irish underage riders completed a good weekend in Opglabbeek, Belgium by winning Sunday’s Junior and Pony Grands Prix.

Wexford's Harry Allen was the sole Irish representative in a 13-horse jump-off in the Junior division where, riding the nine-year-old gelding Dis Moi Tout de Clairbois, he jumped clear in 41.03 to finish over two seconds ahead of Belgian runner-up Max Sebrechts with Cacacha van het Schaeck.

The later Pony Grand Prix saw Irish riders fill the top two places. Kilkenny’s Seamus Hughes-Kennedy took the winner’s trophy with the Barbara O’Reilly-Hyland-owned Rock Dee Jay. Drawn third to go in a 10-horse jump-off, he posted what proved an unbeatable clear in 35.98. Tipperary’s Max Wachman and the Coolmore Showjumping-owned Aughnashammer completed an Irish 1-2 by finishing second with a clear in 36.67.

Westmeath’s Francis Derwin, who was first to go in the jump-off for Ireland with his father and namesake’s Rincoola Babog, produced the fastest time of the second round (34.13) but one fence down saw him finish ninth. The three Irish riders, along with Tom Wachman, comprised Gary Marshall’s team which won the Pony Nations’ Cup on Saturday at the same venue.

Five combinations recorded double clears in the jump-off round of the Connolly’s Red Mills spring tour 1.35m Grand Prix in Mullingar on Sunday with the honours going to Jessica Burke riding Bernard Jordan’s nine-year-old Vivaldo van het Costersveild gelding Clonguish Vivaro.

In eventing, Ireland’s Tim Bourke had two fences down and picked up three time faults on Luckaun Quality in Sunday’s show jumping phase to finish 16th on 47.90 penalties in the CIC3* at The Fork international horse trials in Tyron, North Carolina.

This test event for next September’s World Equestrian Games was won by the USA’s Phillip Dutton riding Z (28) while US riders competing on Irish Sport Horse geldings filled the next two places. Kim Severson finished second on the 11-year-old Diamond Roller bay Cooley Cross Border (32.10) with Sharon White placing third on the 11-year-old Ricardo Z grey Cooley On Show (32.90).

On the horse’s first start at graded level, Fraser Duffy won the CNC1* at Millstreet on Sunday with Carol Gee’s six-year-old Afellay Z gelding Fernhill Sky High.

Kildare’s Heike Holstein continued her domination of the higher graded classes at Dressage Ireland’s national winter finals in Cavan Equestrian Centre on Sunday when winning the Intermédiaire 1 final with Sambuca and the advanced final on Chameur.