Derek McConnell recently became the 2020 Underwriting Exchange Grand Prix Champion recently at Wexford Equestrian as the Kildare rider finished fourth in the final round of the series.
Though the title was still up for grabs going into the final, with Liam O’Meara and Mark Finnerty not featuring in the line-up, McConnell had it won by booking a place in the six-way jump-off.
In the end, he claimed the league on a total of 47 points, nine points ahead of his closest rival.
Speaking after the class, McConnell said of his horse Dothraki Warlord:
“It is hugely satisfying to win the national title, both as a professional rider and as some one who has produced this horse from a three-year-old up to this level. I always knew he was a special horse and I would like to thank the Hennessy’s for buying him.”
Claiming the runner-up spot in the league was Jonathan Smyth and Crystal Tom, while third place in the league went to Liam O’Meara and Curraghgraigue Jack Take Flight.
Claiming the final leg was Paul Beecher and Ikona V.’T Recht Eind. They posted the winning round of clear in 35.67 seconds when first to go.
Second last to go, Jason Higgins wasted no time with Dondoctro Ryal K. Desite a series of tight turns, a clear in 36.25 seconds proved good enough for second place.
Young rider Jennifer Kuehnle also put in a faultless performance with Tullibards Miss Optimistic. Their time of 36.89 seconds saw them take third place.
Second to go against the clock, Derek McConnell set off in a determined pace with Dothraki Warlord and a clear in 40.54 seconds saw him slot into fourth place.
Tholm Keane proved out of luck when he had one on the floor with BMH Big Time, but his time of 40.80 seconds saw him fill fifth place.
Last to go, Paul Beecher returned with Glamstone, but his decision to retire mid-way through the course, meant a sixth-place finish for him.