IT was a clean sweep for Irish riders in the five-star show jumping class on day one of the 2019 Dublin Horse Show at the RDS arena in Ballsbridge.
Amhrán na bhFiann played out around the venue for the first time after 22-year-old Cormac Hanley galloped to victory in the opening 1.40m Speed Stakes. The Mayo show jumper guided Heathman Farm’s Copain Z to the fastest of 23 clear rounds in the class, breaking the beam in 59.94 seconds. Waterford’s Anthony Condon was runner-up in 60.31 aboard John Hales’ Zira V Kapelhof Z.
Hanley, who is based in the USA, was riding in the international classes for the first time, and amazingly, was winning for the first time at the Dublin Horse Show. Speaking afterwards to The Irish Field, he said: “It feels amazing, a good start to the week. You always want to get your first one or two classes off to a good result, and a win is the best.
“I competed here for the first time when I was seven years own. I was here for nine or 10 years then and never actually won a class here. I’ve been away for five years and to come back here to jump the internationals and get a win under my belt is pretty cool,” Hanley added.
Cian O’Connor was next to see the Irish flag raised when he guided Nicola Pohl’s Diego to victory in the 1.45m Minerva Stakes. There were just 10 clear rounds in the class and O’Connor won by over three seconds in a time of 61.64.
Britain’s Holly Smith slotted into second place with Ruby VIII (0/ 64.87), ahead of Ger O’Neill with Home Farm Equestrian’s Jack Van Het Dennehof (0/ 64.88).
O’Connor, who is on Friday’s Irish team for the Aga Khan Nations Cup, was delighted to win on the opening day and is targeting his horse at tomorrow’s Speed Derby. “It’s always good to get a win early in the week here. It gives you a great boost. A lot of people come here to see the Irish riders – Cormac Hanley won the first class and I got that one done, so it’s good,” he said afterwards.
“Diego is a super little horse. I borrowed him from my student Nicola Pohl. I rode him in Aachen a few weeks ago and he won the Speed Derby there so I am looking forward to the Speed Derby here tomorrow. He is brave!”
O’Shea lands final win of the day
Limerick man Paul O’Shea completed the Irish trio of wins on Wednesday evening when he landed the 1.60m Sport Ireland Classic aboard the experienced Imerald van’t Voorhof, owned by Tequesteian Farms LLC. The combination won a five-star Grand Prix earlier this season and jumped double clear in the Hickstead Nations Cup just two weeks ago.
O’Shea scooped the top prize of €8,250 when quickest in a lightning fast time of 63.12 seconds with the 11-year-old gelding. Darragh Kenny was behind him in second place with Ann Thompson’s Romeo 88 (0/ 66.73), while young rider Susan Fitzpatrick finished a brilliant day for Ireland in third place with her mother Sharon’s Fellow Castlefield (0/ 68.10).