Irish Showjumping riders scored individual victories in Qatar, Spain and the USA over the weekend.
Bertram Allen and Molly Malone won the featured speed class at Al Shaqab’s five-star fixture in Qatar. Allen and his grey mare beat a world class line up which included five of the world’s top 10 ranked riders, to take the winner’s prize of €23,000.
Drawn second-last to go, Allen and Molly Malone, who were runner’s cup in the same class last year, produced a super fast clear round in 57.70 seconds, to deny flying Frenchman Rodger Yves Bost and Qoud ‘Coeur De La Loge victory after they had earlier posted a target of 58.04. Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer and Balou Rubin R finished third a further second further back, while the top 10 finishers included top riders such as Frenchman Kevin Staut , Christian Ahlmann of Germany, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat and Britain’s John Whitaker.
At the four-star Spanish Sunshine Tour in Vejer De La Frontera, Sligo’s Richard Howley claimed the biggest competition of the day with Calmond. Their clear round in 59.38 seconds saw them finish over three seconds ahead of runner-up Alvarez Moya Julio. Cork’s Billy Twomey also featured in the prizes, taking sixth place with Kimba Flamenco.
Meanwhile in the United States, Corkman Shane Sweetnam, riding Cobolt, won the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Centre in Wellington, Florida.
This week’s edition of the WEF Challenge Cup competition was held as a one-round speed class with 59 entries producing ten clear rounds. Sweetnam, aboard his own and The Blue Buckle Group’s Cobolt, clocked the winning time of 69.13 seconds. The pair edged out Todd Minikus (USA) and Wyndmont’s Valinski S, who settled for second place in 69.91 seconds. Reigning World Champions Jeroen Dubbeldam (NED) and SFN Zenith, owned by Springpaarden Fonds Nederland and W. van der Ham, placed third in 71.43 seconds.
“He jumped great today,” Sweetnam said of Cobolt. “Obviously these classes are never easy, so it was great to win it. I was thinking I would get caught because we went in the first half of the class. Normally the second half, towards the end of the class, can get really hot.”
Eleven-year-old Cobolt is a Swedish Warmblood gelding sired by Sweetnam’s winning mount Cyklon 1083. Sweetnam admitted that although the gelding has many similarities to Cyklon, it took some time for the partnership to develop.
“He is similar to Cyklon. He looks similar and they have the same sort of attitude” Sweetnam detailed. “He likes to go fast, and he is naturally quick. Cyklon is still going and I have a very special place for him. He has won everywhere, and I do not think there are many horses as good as Cyklon at what he does, so it is hard to compare them.”