The Underwriting National Grand Prix league got off to a great start, with Kilkenny’s Susan Fitzpatrick claiming victory in the opening round at Galway Equestrian today (Sunday 5th of July). Riding her own Verdict de Kezeg, she set the winning time of clear in 35.42. The 11-year-old gelding is by Diamant de Semilly and out of the Vas Y Donc Longane sired dam, Hazelle de Rhuys.
Delighted with the result, Fitzpatrick said; “Verdict de Kezeg has been rearing to go all through lockdown so it’s brilliant to get one on the board early in the National Grand Prix league. I took over the ride from a Swiss friend of mine Ines De Melo and I’m incredibly grateful to the family for trusting me with this very talented horse. A special thanks to my good friend Mikey Pender, who rode the horse for me when I was out of action. The O’ Brien family put on a great show today and really stuck to having everything on time, while staying within the protocol, she added”.
There was a good turnout for the opening round, with 56 taking on the Tom Holden designed course. Of the initial starters, 18 delivered clear rounds to contest the jump-off round. With riders looking to put their first points on the board, nine of those delivered double clears.
Taking the runner-up spot was Captain Geoff Curran riding the Minister for Defence owned HHS Clinstown, when he was fractions behind in a time of 37.98. A nine-year-old by OBOS Quality 004 and out of MHS Kilkenny Lady.
Accounting for third place in the line-up was local rider Raphael Jnr Lee, who was just over a second behind Curran on John Lee’s 10-year-old Captain Marko, when stopping the clock in 39.06.
Fourth place belonged to Brendan Murphy when he proved to be the next fastest with the Alan Robertson owned Immun Ocean Ogara, stopping the clock in a time of 39.07.
Resident rider Thomas O’Brien had his eye on the ball as he took it on with Montreal Van De Kleinheide, but despite his best efforts, his clear round in 39.43, saw him claim fifth place.
Completing the top six line-up was former Hickstead Derby winner, Paul Beecher. Riding Ikona V’T Recht Eind, he stopped the clock in 40.13.
Full results available on https://www.sjilive.ie/results/11792351