MICHAEL Jung and Laura Collett have raised the bar yet again in five-star eventing with a slew of lowest score records at Kentucky and Badminton. The pair led from start to podium, finishing on their dressage scores with fischerChipmunk FRH (HANN) and London 52 (HOLST).

So, the first two events of the five-star calendar were convincingly won by a pair of German-bred horses. Proof that the prediction about warmblood lines becoming more prevalent in eventing’s short format?

Irish-breds held their own though in this year’s early five-stars, particularly a top-three Badminton result for Swallow Springs, bred by Maria Keating (see Breeders 10, 92). The Chillout 14-year-old continues to climb up the leaderboard, having finished fifth on his debut there with Andrew Nicholson and now third this year with Oliver Townend.

Of the 16 Irish Sport Horses amongst this year’s 52 finishers at Badminton, half were in the top-20 and four featured in the top-10. In 2019, the previous year Badminton was held before a pandemic arrived, eight out of the top-10 were Irish Sport Horses.

Half of the top-10 at Badminton this year were bred in Ireland, including Swallow Springs, Vanir Kamira (fourth), Ballaghmor Class (fifth), Colorado Blue (eighth) and the sole traditional-bred, Alfie’s Clover (10th).

Four of this group are Irish Sport Horses and the fifth, Colorado Blue, bred at Mellon Stud in Co Limerick by Kate Jarvey, is registered with Sport Horse Breeding (GB). The British studbook recorded one of its best results at Badminton in recent years with Lordships Graffalo (second), Colorado Blue and 11th-placed Classic Moet gathering up some early World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses points for studbook honours.

Swallow Springs was the highest-placed Irish Sport Horse at the 2022 Badminton Horse Trials when finishing third under Oliver Townend \ EquusPix Photography

Four more Irish Sport Horses placed in the top-20 including Leamore Master Plan (15th. Master Imp x Cavalier Royale. Breeder: Michael Byrne), Capels Hollow Drift (16th. Shannondale Sarco x Sea Crest. Jenny Glynn), John The Bull (17th. Luidam x Houmayoun. James Byrne) and the marvellous five-star veteran Ringwood Sky Boy (20th. Courage II x Sky Boy. Myles Mahon).

Irish-bred winners

Irish-breds didn’t fare quite so well at Kentucky with the Francis Brennan-bred Dondante (Pacino x Euro Clover) in seventh as the sole top-10 flag bearer, following on from his 15th place in the inaugural Fair Hill International five-star last autumn.

Four more Irish Sport Horses recorded top-20 results at Kentucky, including Off The Record (12th. VDL Arkansas x Ard Ohio. Breeder: Peter Brady), Harbour Pilot (13th. Cruising. Jacqueline Mars), the traditionally bred Majas Hope (14th. Porter Rhodes x Flagmount King. Jack Murphy) and Newmarket Jack (17th. Newmarket Jewel x Newmarket Venture. Billy Daly).

Just how many Irish-breds have won either five-star event in the past 10 events? Cancellations took their toll in this timeframe; Badminton has cancelled three times, once in 2012 due to weather conditions and twice in 2020 and 2021 with Covid-19.

Kentucky also had no option but to cancel in 2020 during the pandemic, however, a crowdfunding drive to raise sponsorship reversed their original decision to not run last year.

Five Irish Sport Horses have won from the last 10 events at both fixtures, due mainly to Oliver Townend’s Kentucky strike rate with Irish-breds and the mare power of Vanir Kamira and Paulank Brockagh at Badminton.

Kentucky’s crowdfunding drive paid off for the so-consistent Ballaghmor Class. The Limerick-bred completed a winning treble for Townend, who had already scored a back-to-back double with Cooley Master Class (Ramiro B x Master Imp. Breeder: John Hagan) in 2018 and 2019.

The fourth ISH win at Kentucky’s Lexington was back in 2014 when Bay My Hero (Cult Hero x Tomgar Power Crest. Breeder: Bryan Maguire) won with William Fox-Pitt.

2014 was also the year Paulank Brockagh (Touchdown x Triggerero. Breeder: Frank & Paula Cullen) won Badminton for Sam Griffiths, completing an Irish-bred double at both five-star events. The other Irish-bred Badminton winner here over the past 10 fixtures was Vanir Kamira in 2019, the first year Badminton ran as the newly named five-star event.

The horse that can produce a competitive dressage test, beat the clock over a five-star cross-country track and jump clear around a 1.30m show jumping course is an exceptional performer. If Kentucky and Badminton were any indication, we’re in for more standout results this year and another close-run studbook title race.

Last but never least, it was heartening to see the breeders name(s) and breeding details now included in the bio for the entries on the five-star event’s websites. Owners and riders are vital too but no breeder, no horse.

Germany’s Michael Jung and fischerChipmunk FRH set a new five-star record of 20.1 when winning the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event \ Allison Pezzack Photo

2021 Kentucky top 10 bloodlines

1 Fischerchipmunk FRH (HANN). 2008 gelding by Contendro I - Havanna, by Quinar. Breeder: Ocke Riewerts. Rider: Michael Jung (GER).

2 Banzai du Loir (SF). 2011 gelding by Nouma de Auzay (SF) - Gerboise du Cochet (SF), by Livarot (SF). Breeder: Pierre Gouay. Rider: Yasmin Ingham (GB).

3 Quantum Leap (DSP). 2011 gelding by Quite Capitol (HOLST) - Report To Sloopy (TB), by Corporate Report. Breeder: Elizabeth Callahan. Rider: Doug Payne (USA).

4 Tsetserleg TSF (ATA). 2007 gelding by Windfall 2 (TRAK) - Thabana (TRAK), by Buddenbrock (TRAK). Breeder: Timothy Holekamp. Rider: Boyd Martin (USA).

5 Carlevo (HOLST). 2007 gelding by Eurocommerce Caresino (HOLST) - Ramatuelle (HOLST), by Levernois (HOLST). Breeder: May Thomas. Rider: Bruce Davidson Jnr. (USA).

6 Maybach (SWB). 2010 gelding by Jaguar Mail (SF) - Lady Micra (SWB) by Irco Mena (SWB). Breeder: Camilla Paradis. Rider: Pippa Funnell (GB).

7 Dondante (ISH). 12-year-old gelding by Pacino (BWP) - Muckno Clover (ISH), by Euro Clover (ISH). Breeder: Francis Brennan. Rider: Will Coleman (USA).

8 QC Diamantaire (OLD). 2010 gelding by Diarado - Lantana, by Sandro Hit. Breeder: Berthold Gertes. Rider: Sydney Elliott (USA).

9 Calmaro (BRAND). 2011 gelding by Carpalano (DSP). Rider: Joseph Murphy (IRL)

10 Sea Of Clouds (TB). 2011 gelding by Malibu Moon - Winner’s Ticket, by Jolie’s Halo. Breeder: Sheikh Fahad Al-Thani. Rider: Philip Dutton (USA).

2021 Badminton top 10 bloodlines

1 London 52 (HOLST). 2009 gelding by Landos (HOLST) - Vernante, by Quinar (HOLST). Breeder: Ocke Riewerts. Rider: Laura Collett (GB).

2 Lordships Graffalo (SHB)GB). 2013 gelding by Grafenstolz (TRAK) - Cornish Queen, by Rock King (SHB)GB). Breeder: Lordships Stud. Rider: Ros Canter (GB).

3 Swallow Springs (ISH). 2008 gelding by Chillout (ISH) - Kilila (ISH) by Cult Hero (TB). Breeder: Maria Keating. Rider: Oliver Townend (GB).

4 Vanir Kamira (ISH). 2005 mare by Camiro De Haar Z (ZANG) - Fair Caledonian (WNTR), by Dixi (TB). Breeder: Kate Jackson. Rider: Piggy March (GB).

5 Ballaghmor Class (ISH). 2007 gelding by Courage II (HOLST) - Kilderry Place (ISH). Breeder: Noel Hickey. Rider: Oliver Townend (GB).

6 Galileo Nieuwmoed (KWPN). 2011 gelding by Carambole (HOLST) - Sjaloma, by Harcos. Breeder: J.W & A.P Jurrius. Rider: David Doel (GB).

7 Vendredi Biats (SF). 2009 gelding by Winningmood (BWP) - Liande Normande (SF), by Camellia de Ruelles (SF). Breeder: Philippe Brivois. Rider: Kitty King (GB).

8 Colorado Blue (SHB(GB). 2009 gelding by Jaguar Mail (SF) - Rock Me Baby (AES), by Rock King (SHB(GB). Breeder: Kate Jarvey, Mellon Stud. Rider: Austin O’Connor (IRE).

9 Mai Baum (DSP). 2006 gelding by Loredano (HOLST) - Ramira (SATHU), by Leoni (OLD). Breeder: Gunter Gerling. Rider: Tamra Smith (USA).

10 Alfies Clover (ISH). 2007 gelding by Tajraasi (TB) - Aoife’s Clover, by Clover Hill (ID). Breeder: James Hickey. Rider: Richard Jones (GB).

Last 10 Badminton winners

2021 - London 52 (HOLST)

2019 – Vanir Kamira (ISH)

2018 – Classic Moet (SHB (GB)

2017 – Nereo (CDE)

2016 – La Biosthetique Sam (BAD-WÜ)

2015 – Chilli Morning (BRAND)

2014 – Paulank Brockagh (ISH)

2013 – Clifton Promise (TB)

2011 – NZB Land Vision (SHB (GB)

2010 – Inothing (TB)

Last 10 Kentucky winners

2022 - fischerChipmunk FRH (HANN)

2021 - Ballaghmor Class (ISH)

2019 - Cooley Master Class (ISH)

2018 - Cooley Master Class (ISH)

2017 - fischerRocana FST (DSP)

2016 - fischerRocana FST (DSP)

2015 - fischerRocana FST (DSP)

2014 - Bay My Hero (ISH)

2013 - Quimbo (CDE)

2012 - Parklane Hawk (TB)


  • The two youngest ISHs in the Badminton top-20 are the 11-year-old pair of Capels Hollow Drift (16th) and John The Bull (17th), bred by Clare and Westmeath breeders, Jenny Glynn and James Byrne.
  • The veteran Irish-breds on either side of the Atlantic are the 19-year-olds: Harbour Pilot, 13th at Kentucky and Ringwood Sky Boy, placed 20th at Badminton. Harbour Pilot was bred by Jacqueline Mars, whose family business Mars Equestrian stepped in to sponsor Badminton this year, while Ringwood Sky Boy was bred in Wexford by the late Myles Mahon.
  • Galway and Monaghan breeders were well-represented as Maria Keating and Alan O’Brien bred Swallow Springs, the top ISH at Badminton, and Cooley Quicksilver, the Kentucky CCI4* winner. Francis Brennan and Kate Jackson bred the Monaghan pair of Dondante and Vanir Kamira.
    • Four mares have won Badminton in this millennium: Vanir Kamira (2019), Classic Moet (2018), the Irish-bred Paulank Brockagh (2014) and Headley Britannia (2007). The Triple Crown queen fischerRocana FST (2015-2017), Kings Temptress (2011) and Headley Britannia (2007) are the most recent Kentucky champions.
    • Sea Of Clouds (Malibu Moon) was the highest-placed thoroughbred at Kentucky, finishing 10th with Philip Dutton (USA).
    • Most recent thoroughbred winners? A pair of New Zealand-breds: Clifton Promise (Badminton, 2013) and Parklane Hawk (Kentucky, 2012).
    • Classic Moet (seven-eighths thoroughbred/one-eighth Shire) was the most recent British-bred Badminton winner (2018) and recipient of the SHB(GB) trophy, awarded to the owners of the highest SHB(GB) registered horse, within the top 12. A big result this year from Lordships Graffalo, ridden by Ros Canter, saw him earn both the SHB(GB) trophy and the British Horse Foundation £1,000 breeders prize. This was presented to the Lordships Stud at Writtle College. The college was loaned Cornish Queen by one of its senior lecturers Pennie Wallace. Covered by the Trakehner stallion Grafenstolz, Cornish Queen produced Lordships Graffalo. Rock King (Just A Monarch (TB) x Rugantino (TB) is the only damsire with two top-10 horses: Lordships Graffalo and Colorado Blue.