A devastating performance from Offaly’s Darragh Kenny and the Ann Thompson-owned stallion ‘Balou Du Reventon’, saw them take victory in Sunday’s lucrative €500,000 five-star Rolex Grand Prix presented by Audi at Knokke in Belgium, where they pushed Germany’s reigning individual World Champion Simone Blum into second place with ‘DSP Alice’, while Wexford’s Bertram Allen also took third place on the podium for Ireland with ‘Harley Vd Bisschop’.
Just six riders managed to jump clear in the first round, with three of those coming from Ireland. Co. Louth’s Mark McAuley was the first rider to produce a clear round with ‘Valentino Tuiliere’. He finished with one fence down when first to go in the jump-off, which saw him take sixth place at the finish. Germany’s reigning individual World Champion Simone Blum (GER) with ‘DSP Alice’, looked like they had posted an unbeatable target of clear in 42.65 to take the lead. Bertram Allen and ‘Harley Vd Bisschop’ gave it a good try, finishing just fractionally slower in 42.96 and would eventually collect €75,000 for a third place finish. Kenny and ‘Balou Du Reventon’ were simply outstanding and crossed the line clear in 42.17, when last to go to take the top prize of a new Audi Q7 along with almost €72,000.
It was Darragh Kenny’s second Grand Prix win in the space of 24 hours, after he had also won Saturday’s three-star Grand Prix with ‘Sweet Tricia’. The Offaly rider crowned a brilliant weekend by being named Leading International Rider of the show, just ahead of Bertram Allen in second.
Meanwhile, at St Tropez in France, Kilkenny’s Susan Fitzpatrick and the Sharon Fitzpatrick-owned ‘Fellow Castlefield’ recorded an excellent third place finish in the four-star Grand Prix. A double clear round saw them collect €15,000 with victory going to Guillaume Foutrier (FRA) with ‘Valdocco des Caps’.