Ireland’s Aoife Clark just had to go clear on Sunday in the final phase of the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials to win her first Three Star event, after taking the lead in Saturday’s cross-country phase.And so it came to pass thanks to a superb round.
With not even a fence in hand when entering today’s show jumping phase, the 32 year-old held her nerve, and guided PJ Hegarty’s Irish Sport Horse Fenya’s Elegance to a zero penalty round, clinching one of Ireland’s first victories in many years at this level of international three-day eventing.
Clark, who finished seventh at the London Olympics last year, produced a dazzling display of cross-country riding on Saturday to edge into the lead, but had France’s former world champion Jean Teulere and American top eventer Clark Montgomery both just 1.5 penalty points behind her today.
After her successful cross country phase Clark said of her mount, a nine-year-old Irish-bred chestnut mare: “She tried her heart out. I just tried to ride the accuracy fences positively and she’s a super jumper, really powerful.”
Clark’s victory ended an exceptional day for Irish Eventing, with the Junior team winning Gold at the European Eventing Championships in Jardy, France and the Irish Young Rider team claiming Bronze.
After Sunday’s exceptional performances, the Irish Eventing High
Performance Manager Nick Turner said: “”I am absolutely delighted with
the Irish eventing successes this weekend. Team Gold and individual
Silver from the Juniors, Team Bronze from the Young Riders and a win for
Aoife Clark with PJ Hegartys’ Fenya’s Elegance at the Blenhein CCI3*
made this a very exciting weekend.
“Congratulations to everyone involved and thanks to all of the owners,
sponsors, support staff and team managers for all of their hard work and
dedication that helped to make this possible.
“The young horses in the 8/9 year old classes also put in some very good
performances which makes the future of Irish Eventing very exciting.”