IRISH horses and riders were in excellent form last Wednesday at the Tops International Arena in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands, when winning both of the Grand Prix competitions on offer.
Mayo’s Cameron Hanley partnered his own eight-year-old mare ‘Shuttle’ to victory in the 1.45m two-star Grand Prix. 14 of the 68 starters made it through to the jump-off, where Hanley completed a double clear performance and crossed the line in 41.64 seconds to take the top prize of over €8,000. America’s Laura Kraut finished as runner-up with ‘Berdenn de Kergane’ in 42.31, while Albert Zoer (NED) finished third with ‘Florian’ in 43,14.
The CSI1* Grand Prix also saw a win for an Irish rider with an Irish Sport Horse. Galway’s Andrew Bourns and ‘Sea Topblue’ (ISH) were making their first appearance together as a pairing, with the eight-year-old gelding having been previously ridden to much success by Jenny Rankin for the Bourns Sport Horses team. A 12-horse jump-off saw Andrew Bourns and ‘Sea Topblue’ (ISH) cross the line almost half a second ahead of Swiss runner-up, Florence Schwizer-Seydoux with ‘Starlette de Maillet’.
Sea Topblue (ISH) – 2011 bay gelding by Chacco Blue (MECKL), out of Sea Top Lady (ISH), by Lux Z (HANN). Bred by James and John Meade, Co. Clare. Owner: Deirdre Bourns.