IRISH riders featured strongly in the two major five-star Grand Prix competitions that took place on Sunday in Spain and Switzerland, with Mikey Pender and Darragh Kenny both claiming fourth place finishes.
Riding the Irish Sport Horse ‘HHS Calais’, Kildare’s Mikey Pender was among seven riders who made it through to the jump-off in the Longines FEI World Cup Grand Prix at La Coruna in Spain. Pender went on to post the fastest time of the jump-off, with a single fence down, costing him what would have been his first World Cup win, taking fourth place at the finish. Victory went to Germany’s Philipp Schulze Topphoff and ‘Concordess NRW’.
Meanwhile in Geneva, Switzerland, another brilliant performance from Offaly’s Darragh Kenny and ‘VDL Cartello’ saw them take fourth place in the five-star Rolex Grand Prix. A tough first round saw Kenny post the first clear when 24th to jump and he would eventually be joined by five other combinations for the deciding jump-off.
First to go against the clock, Kenny jumped clear again in 43.47 seconds with his Tokyo Olympics mount ‘VDL Cartello’, who is owned by Heathman Farm LLC to collect 100,000 Swiss Franc for a fourth place finish.
The winner’s prize of 330,000 Swiss Franc went to Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs and ‘Leone Jei’ with a clear in 41.54 seconds.
Irish impress across Europe
Irish riders were in excellent form at the five-star shows taking place at the weekend at Geneva (SUI) and La Coruna (ESP). County Clare’s Eoin McMahon claimed runner-up spot in Saturday’s five-star Longines Grand Prix the World Cup fixture in La Coruna. Riding the 11-year-old mare ‘Chakra’, McMahon was among the six combinations who made it into the jump-off, where he posted the fastest four-fault score. French rider Simon Delestre and ‘Cayman Jolly Jumper’ took victory, with the only double clear, while Denis Lynch and ‘GC Chopin’s Bushi’ finished sixth.
Mikey Pender and ‘HHS Calais’ finished as runners-up in Friday’s 1.55m speed class, where victory went to French rider Julien Epaillard with ‘Billabong du Roumois’.
At Geneva, Wexford’s Bertram Allen and the Irish Sport Horse ‘Classified’ were in brilliant form, taking a win and a runner-up finish. The pair finished second in Thursday’s 1.45m speed class and less than 24 hours later went one better, when taking victory in the 1.50m speed class. Allen and the eight-year-old gelding were third to go of the 54 starters and posted what proved an unbeatable clear in 53.99 seconds to take the winner’s prize.
Also in Geneva, Kilkenny’s Jack Ryan and the Irish Sport Horse ‘BBS McGregor’ took runner-up spot in Saturday’s U25 Land Rover Grand Prix. Ryan finished just over a second behind Spanish winner Álvaro González de Zarate Fernandez with ‘Carte de Blue PS’.
HHS Calais (ISH) – 2011 gelding by Cavalier Royale (HOLST), out of MHS OBOS Cruise (ISH) by OBOS Quality (OLD). Breeder: Ita Brennan, Co. Kilkenny. Owner: Bravo Hughes Ltd. Rider: Michael Pender (IRL).
Classified (ISH) – 2013 gelding by Je T’Aime Flamenco (BWP), out of Larissa II (HOLST) by Libertino I (HOLST). Breeder: Philip McManus, Co. Galway. Owner: Highfort Stud. Rider: Bertram Allen (IRL).
BBS McGregor (ISH) – gelding by Cardento (HOLST), out of Random Chance (ISH) by Mark Twain (TB). Bred and owned by Marguerite Ryan. Rider: Jack Ryan.
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