THOUGH clocking up just one victory at the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse show today (Wednesday) Irish riders nevertheless put in strong performances in the three main jumping classes on a rainswept opening day at the RDS grounds.
Kilkenny’s Marion Hughes produced the single win in the opening Failte Stakes with the Irish Sport Horse HHS Fortuna, with Down man Conor Swail a close second on the chestnut mare Martha Louise and Tholm Keane following in third with the Irish Sport Horse Warrenstown You 2. Irish riders also accounted for three more of the top ten places.
Shane Breen was best of the Irish in the Speed Stakes with Ominerale Courcelle, coming third behind France’s Roger Yves Bost with Castleforbes Vivaldo Vh Costersveld and Britain’s eventual winner William Funnell, riding the Irish Sport Horse Dorada. Seventeen year-old Michael Duffy, with yet another Irish Sport Horse, Killard Horizon, claimed fourth spot.
In the night’s feature class, the 1m50 Sports Council Classic, victory was again narrowly denied to the Irish contingent at Ballsbridge, with Switzerland’s Arthur Gustavo de Silva and La Toya III beating Down’s Dermott Lennon and Hallmark Elite to the 7,500 euro first prize by just under a tenth of a second in the big 13-horse jump off.
Capt. David O’Brien and the irish Sport Horse gelding Annestown took fourth in the class, with Shane Carey and Ballymore Eustace and Trevor Coyle with Jubilee D’Ouilly also featuring in the top ten.
Thursday sees three major classes in the main arena of the RDS show grounds, and the announcement of the draw for places in the Aga Khan Trophy, as well as the announcement of Ireland’s team for this last round in the 2012 Superleague.