Defending champion O’Meara still in contention after penultimate round

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Liam O'Meara and Mr Coolcaum in action at CoilÓg Equestrian Centre. Credit: www.jumpinaction.net.

CoilÓg Equestrian Centre in Naas proved a happy hunting ground for the defending National Grand Prix Champion Liam O’Meara, as he secured two places in the penultimate round of Underwriting Exchange Grand Prix on Sunday.

The Tipperary rider claimed victory and took the lion’s share of the CoilÓg-sponsored class with Mr Coolcaum, when he was the fastest of the four double clears in the seven-way jump-off in a time of 39.46 seconds. This was the first win for O’Meara with the 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse Mr Coolcaum in the 2020 league.

Not content with this result he took sixth place with Curraghgraigue Jack Take Flight, when he crossed the line carrying four faults in 38.32 seconds. This was an important result for O’Meara as it added an extra four points to the pairing’s tally going into the round at Wexford Equestrian Centre next weekend.

Speaking after the win, the Tipperary man admitted:

“I am delighted at how both horses jumped. I was a bit late following the league, but I am glad to be at the top end of the leader board going into the final. It was a really well-run show and Tom Holden-designed a great course, fitting to the penultimate round.”

Wicklow’s Mark Finnerty and his horse All Action, who had accumulated 25 points on the leaderboard moved up on the points tally when they secured a second-place finish in this round, leaving him now on 33 points. The combination were only fractions behind the winners, as they delivered a clear round in 39.70 seconds.

Gemma Phelan and Coolisheal Lance took the longer lines and this safer approach was rewarded as they came home clear in 41.82 seconds for third place.

Taking fourth place in the line-up was Derek McConnell and Dothraki Warlord, who were the last combination of the double clears in 50.71 seconds. The result sees the Kildare rider add six points to his existing tally of 35 points, putting him in poll position ahead of the final next weekend in Wexford Equestrian.

Kilkenny’s Eddie Moloney with Andiamix Hero Z clocked 37.94 seconds, but it came at a price as he incurred four faults and slotted into fifth place.

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