IRISH riders were in superb form on Sunday across Europe, with Meath’s Alexander Butler leading the way with an impressive win in the three-star Grand Prix at Vilamoura in Portugal. Butler guided ‘Chilli B’ to the fastest clear in a 10-horse jump-off to take the winners prize of €12,550.
Butler has high hopes for the 12-year-old stallion, who is owned and bred by L.C.J. Berben: “I’m delighted to start off the first week here at Vilamoura with a win in the Grand Prix. I have very high expectations of ‘Chilli B’ for next year for the outdoor season. I think this horse has a lot to give and I am really looking forward to it,” Butler commented.
Harry Marshall also filled fifth place for Ireland with ‘Flambeau’, having earlier taken a speed class win with ‘Barcelona’.
At Sentower Park in Belgium, Irish riders dominated the two-star Grand Prix, with Sligo’s Richard Howley taking victory with ‘Arlo de Blondel’. Howley had almost two seconds in hand over Brazilian runner-up Marlon Modolo Zanotelli, while Wexford’s Bertram Allen finished third with ‘Go To Fortuna’ and Kilkenny’s Ger O’Neill slotted into fourth place with ‘Warriors Glory’.
In the two-star Grand Prix at Oliva in Spain, Harry Allen claimed a runner-up finish with ‘Guinness’ and finished just over half-a-second behind German winner Katharina Offel with ‘Elien’. At Rabat four-star show in Morocco, Cork’s Billy Twomey took runner-up spot in a 1.45m speed class with ‘Kimba Flamenco’.
On Friday, the Irish Pony (U16) team of Orla Duffy, Alex Finney, Conor McLaughlin and Ella Quigley took a superb win in the Nations Cup at Chevenez in Switzerland. Ireland finished on a score of just four faults to take victory, ahead of Netherlands in second and Germany in third.
Irish pony team manager Gary Marshall was delighted to finish the year with another great result and said: “This was a fantastic result for us. I try to use this as a development show at the end of the year to give some new combinations some experience and all our team jumped great today. This was our last Nations Cup of the season and in fact the points gained at this show carry forward to next year’s league, so it was great to finish on a high after what was an incredible year for us.”
In Eventing, Joseph Murphy finished best of the Irish in the CCIO4*-L at Boekelo in The Netherlands. He slotted into 20th place aboard ‘Cesar V’ on a final score of 35.90, while Brian Morrison and ‘Global Orchid’ (ISH) came home in 22nd place on 37.50.Victory went to Britain’s Laura Collett with ‘London 52’ on a score of 26.0.