The opening day of the 2019 Stena Line Dublin Horse Show at the RDS in Ballsbridge could hardly have gone any better for Irish riders in the Main Arena, as they claimed all three major International classes.
The opening competition of this year’s show saw Mayo rider Cormac Hanley take the spoils in the Speed Stakes with the 13-year-old gelding Copain Z. The Claremorris native took the competition, which had 45 participants and which produced 23 clear rounds, when clocking 59.94 seconds.
Waterford’s Anthony Condon, riding the 10-year-old mare Zira V Kapelhof Z, took the runner-up spot, as the combination went clear in 60.31 seconds. French rider Mathieu Billot and Dassler were third, as they were also foot-perfect in a time of 60.64 seconds.
The ever-popular Cian O’Connor won the second International class, The Minerva Stakes. The Meathman and the grey son of Colman, Diego, were the fastest clear when stopping the timers at 61.64 seconds. Britain’s Holly Smith, who had surgery less than a month ago to repair a broken collarbone, claimed second spot with the 12-year-old Ruby VIII, when going clear in 64.87 seconds. Kilkenny rider, Ger O’Neill, who had led the competition for a long period of time, finished third with Jack Van Het Dennehof.
US-based Paul O’Shea won the feature International class on Wednesday, the Sport Ireland Classic, as the Limerick man led home an Irish clean sweep of the top 6 places.
Riding the 11-year-old bay gelding Imerald Van ’T Voorhof, the Kildimo native had over three seconds to spare over the in-form Darragh Kenny, as the Offaly rider partnered Romeo 88 to second in 66.73 seconds.
Twenty-year-old Susan Fitzpatrick, from Keatingstown House Stud in Kilkenny, and Fellow Castlefield took third place, with Kanturk, Co. Cork-born Shane Sweetnam, who was runner-up in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of London at the Royal Hospital Chelsea on Saturday evening, finished fourth with Kirschwasser SCF.
Sligo’s Richard Howley, riding Chinook, claimed fifth place, while Hickstead-based Tipperary man Shane Breen completed the top-6 for Ireland, with Golden Hawk.