Irish riders dominated at the Royal International Horse Show

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IRISH riders dominated the show jumping at the Royal International Horse Show which ended at Hickstead on Sunday, with Ireland winning the FEI Nations Cup of Great Britain on Friday- their first win this season and their first FEI Nations Cup win at Hickstead since 2001.

The Robert Splaine-led team of Shane Breen (Cos I Can), Richie Moloney (Ahorn Van De Zuuthoeve), Darragh Kerins (Lisona) and Clem McMahon (Pacino) finished on just four faults, beating France in a thrilling competition that went down to the final round.

Then on Saturday Keith Doyle won the Templant Events Queen Elizabeth Cup, beating the time by the only other rider to go clear- Geoff Billington- by just 0.3 seconds. He was riding hombred 10-year-old Walk Tall.

“This is our biggest win by far – to be honest, I was pleased with two clears so to win is a real bonus,” said Keith, who finished second last month at Hickstead in the Bunn Leisure Derby Trophy.

Hickstead-based Shane Breen is definitely enjoying a successful show, with the Irishman landing the Sky Sports Speed Classic on Ominerale Courcelle. It was the pair’s second win this week, having won the Royal International Vase on Thursday.

It was an aggressive and tight-turning ride by the Irishman, who took huge risks that paid off handsomely. “I knew I could beat the time, and I took some strides out and saved some seconds so I could be a bit safer in a few of the trickier places,” said Shane.

The Bunn Leisure Salver kicked off the International Arena action on Saturday at the Longines Royal International Horse Show, the official show of The British Horse Society.when Belgian rider Rik Hemeryck and Papillon Z won, beating countryman Maurice Van Roosbroeck (Calumet) by 0.13 seconds

The pick of the crop in the fashion stakes on Saturday was Ladies’ Day winner, Philippa Butler from East Sussex. She was presented with her prizes by actress Barbara Windsor, a supporter of Variety, the Children’s Charity.

Top show producer Robert Walker from Cheshire won the Garrick Engineering Shelters Ltd Supreme Hack Championship, with Royal Engagement, while Jayne Webber and Its After Eight won the Small Hunter Championship. Both joined other champions for Sunday’s British Horse Society Supreme Horse title, in schorching conditions.

The grand finale was a thrilling revival of the €200,000 Longines King George V Gold Cup on Sunday.

Nine riders made it through to the CSIO 5* Grand Prix jump-off, out of 47 starters, with young British talents Joe Clayton and Louise Pavitt amid the nine. But Henrik-Jan Schuttert and the 11 year-old mare Cerona H S, the second-last pair to go, took the lead from French lady rider Marie Hecart. Having posted the fastest time, Henrik had a nervous wait as the former Olympic Champion Ludger Beerbaum was still to jump, but Ludger’s time was fractionally slower and the German had to settle for second.

A delighted Henrik said: “This is just amazing for me – to win a show like this is so special. When I went into the lead and saw the time, I knew I could have gone quicker, and with Ludger after me, I thought I was second for sure. But it was not his day, which is excellent for me.”

Earlier, 22-year-old Joe Clayton won the Royal International Accumulator on Antello Z. It was a fantastic ride by a talented young rider, who took tight lines to clock a quick time of 44.57sec.

The British Horse Society Supreme Horse title went to Katie Jerram and Dunbeacon, the lightweight hunter victors and Thursday’s overall hunter champions.

The pony supreme went to the winner of the Oggy Oggy Pasty Company BSPS Supreme Show Pony Championship, Lucinda Elliott and the 148cm victor Dance All Night.

Despite inclement weather in the run up to the Longines Royal International Horse Show, Hickstead’s team pulled out all the stops to ensure the show could go on. The weather improved throughout the week and the weekend in particular saw the showground enjoy packed stands and glorious sunshine.

For a full page of equestrian news each week see West Sussex Gazette every Wednesday.