Irish pony team crowned world champions

The Gary Marshall-managed squad completed Sunday’s round on a zero score

The Irish pony team were crowned world champions following a jump-off with the host nation at the FEI Youth Nations' Cup World Finals at Opglabbeek in Belgium on Sunday.

The Gary Marshall-managed squad, who completed Sunday’s round on a zero score, comprised Ella Quigley (Clemens), Charlotte Houston (Toscane Davnir), Katie Power (Ghost Rider) and Seamus Hughes-Kennedy (Rock Dee Jay). The last-named also went clear in the jump-off to clinch the title for Ireland as his Belgian rival was eliminated.

On eight faults, Britain took third place on the podium ahead of France in fourth (16) and Netherlands in fifth (17). The Irish team were unbeaten throughout the season, recording victories in Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany on their way to the weekend’s finals.

“I am delighted with all our riders,” commented Marshall. “They went really well today and we have made history winning the first ever Youth Nations’ Cup final. Only one of the riders here was on our European Championship team and it shows how lucky I am to have such a big pool of riders to choose from. I want to thank all of the parents involved - it’s a big undertaking to travel to all of these events around Europe - and also all our sponsors and our committee members.”


At the finals, the Irish Junior team of Kate Derwin (AHG Whiterock Cruise Dawn), Cian Harrison (Tabby), Ciaran Nallon (Zaronda II) and Harry Allen (Dis Moi Tout de Clairbois) completed on four faults to place second behind Britain (zero) while the Young Riders squad of Chris Megahey (Viking d’Eole), Tim Macdonagh (Hollypark Galloway), Lucinda Roche (Izar LB) and Nicholas Connors (Abordable du Talus) picked up 10 faults to finish fourth behind the winners Switzerland (five).

Galway’s Macdonagh had a very good show individually, winning three times over the four days with Jackie Lee’s Irish Sport Horse mare Tick Tock Tina, an 11-year-old by Beowulf.

Riding for Co Antrim owner Joanne Sloan Allen, Egypt's Sameh El Dahan won Sunday's CP International Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows in Canada.

El Dahan, who was presented with a cheque for Can$1m following his jump-off success over Belgium’s Maikel van der Vleuten (Verdi TN), rode the Irish Sport Horse mare Suma’s Zorro. The 14-year-old chestnut by Ard VDL Douglas was bred in Co Kilkenny by Marily Power and Susan Lanigan O’Keeffe out of the Horos mare Vixens Frolic. Co Down’s Conor Swail finished sixth on Rubens LS La Silla.

The 2018 Eventing Ireland national championships were hosted over the weekend by Danny and Michelle Dulohery at Kilguilkey House near Mallow.

Thirteen champions were crowned on Sunday with Co Cork’s Brian Morrison winning the highest-rated class, the Connolly’s Red Mills CNC3* with Tony Kennedy’s one-eyed Rantis Diamond gelding Westeria Lane. Wexford’s Patrick Whelan was crowned the Red Mills league champion when finishing fourth on Footfall.

Ireland has athletes competing in show jumping, eventing, endurance, dressage and reining at the World Equestrian Games in North Carolina where two weeks of action get under way on Wednesday morning. Meanwhile a large squad of riders with five, six and seven-year-olds are en route to Lanaken in Belgium for the FEI world breeding championships for young show jumping horses which run from Thursday until Sunday.