Ireland’s show jumping riders record wins on both sides of the Atlantic

Michael Duffy wins at Vejer de la Frontera in Spain, Jonathan Corrigan wins in Florida

Ireland has secured two individual places in the para dressage competition at this year’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland has secured two individual places in the para dressage competition at this year’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Photograph: Inpho

 

Ireland’s show jumping riders recorded wins on both sides of the Atlantic on Friday with Galway’s Michael Duffy striking first when landing the three-star 1.50m speed class at Vejer de la Frontera in Spain.

From a line-up of 92, Irish riders recorded six of 25 clear rounds within the time allowed, Duffy being the fastest when home in 66.07 seconds on his own and HMF Equestrian’s 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding Jeff Ten Halven.

French rider Max Thirouin finished second on Utopie Villelongue (66.24) ahead of Co Meath’s Alexander Butler riding Quick Hamlet (66.32). Waterford native Anthony Condon rounded off the top six when clear in 68.91 on SFS Vincomte.

Also at three-star level, but in Ocala, Florida, Meath’s Jonathan Corrigan landed the opening 1.40m two-phase class when recording a second-phase clear in 32.03 on Debra Wycoff’s Irish Sport Horse gelding Super Chilled, a Gelvin Clover 12-year-old which was bred in Co Tipperary by Cheryl Broderick. Here, Co Down’s Conor Swail finished fifth with Gamble (33.76).

“The course walked very well and there were options that were inviting to make some inside turns but you had to stay on your toes” said Corrigan. “Olaf Peterson Jr did a great job course designing. This is a new horse to me and I’m grateful for Kevin Babington for trusting me with the ride.” Tipperary native Babington suffered a catastrophic fall when competing at the Hampton Classic Show last August.

There is five-star action this weekend at Wellington in Florida where the feature competition during week nine of the Winter Equestrian Festival is Saturday’s 1.60m Grand Prix. Tipperary’s Alan Wade is the international course designer for the week at the Palm Beach Equestrian Centre.

On Friday, there were two second-place finishes for Meath riders. In the five-star 1.45m speed class, Cian O’Connor partnered the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Baronescha (56.65) into the runner-up spot behind the USA’s Kristen Vanderveen on Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili (56.54). In the later two-star 1.45m jump-off class won by Brazil’s Fabio Leivas Da Costa riding Randon Pleasure (37.82), Mark Kinsella was second on the nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Stern dei Folletti (38.51).

The opening legs of the 2020 Longines Global Champions Tour and League are taking place this weekend at Doha, Qatar where best of the Irish in Thursday’s first round league speed competition was Shane Breen.

The Hickstead-based Tipperary native finished fourth with Carmel Ryan’s Compelling Z (64.54) as French rider Kevin Staut took the honours on Visconti du Telman (63.55). In Friday’s 1.50m speed class, the same Irish combination placed fifth (73.48) behind Belgium’s Jérôme Guery on Eras Ste Hermelle (71.59).

The second round of the league competition takes place on Saturday afternoon with the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix closing out the Doha action that evening.

Eventing news

International eventing continues this week at Barocca d’Alva in Portugal where Irish riders have made a great start in the dressage phase.

In the top competition, the CCI4*-L, Kildare-based Cathal Daniels leads on a penalty score of 29.2 with last week’s three-star winner, Michelle Nelson and Kieran Connors’s home-bred Irish Sport Horse gelding OLS King Aragon. Devon-based Tipperary native Padraig McCarthy is lying joint-second on Leonidas II (31.1) with Cork’s Austin O’Connor currently in seventh place on Colorado Blue (34.6).

In the short format four-star class, Daniels is in second place on Shannondale Percy (29.8) behind Britain’s David Doel on Eisfee (28.6) while, in the CCI2*-L, he is in third spot with last week’s winner Shannondale Mari (30.3) as O’Connor holds the lead on the Dutch Warmblood mare, Isazsa (28.9).

Para dressage

It was confirmed this week that Ireland has secured two individual places in the para dressage competition at this year’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

While the allocations are based on the individual ranking list, the final decision on which athletes will be selected to represent Ireland won’t be made until the run-up to the August 3rd deadline.

In a press release issued on Friday by Horse Sport Ireland, confirmation was made of Dara Kearney’s re-appointment as chair of Horse Sport Ireland’s para dressage high performance committee. Along with Michael Kearney and David Strickland, she will act as advisor to director Debora Pijers.

Edward Doyle has taken over from Gerry Mullins as chairman of the jumping high performance committee whose advisory members are Taylor Vard, Cameron Hanley and the recent US-based addition, Kevin Babington. Clare’s Michael Blake is the high performance director with riders being represented by Malahide’s Barry O’Connor.

Joe Reynolds, chairman of Horse Sport Ireland and father of Ireland’s top-rated dressage rider, Judy Reynolds, has been appointed chairman of the dressage high performance committee whose advisory members are previous chair Gillian Kyle, Norbert von Cramon and the aforementioned Strickland. Anne Marie Dunphy continues in the role of youth manager with Johann Hinnerman director of the high performance squad.

Re-appointed as chairman of the senior eventing high performance committee is Don Hannigan while Co Kildare’s Sally Corscadden maintains the position of director. However, there are changes to the list of advisors with Vina Buller being joined by Chris Ryan and also David Passmore who is best known for his association with Hockey Ireland.

Kevin Croke has been appointed chair of the endurance high performance committee with the country’s three associations being represented among its members, viz Brian Dunne (Irish Long Distance Riding Association), Yvonne Croke (Endurance Ireland) and Peter Carroll (Endurance Riding Eireann).

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