TWO Irish riders with two nine-year-old Irish Sport Horses finished inside the top four in Sunday’s four-star 1.55m Grand Prix at Vilamoura in Portugal.

Over a big track, only five of the starting 50 jumped clear in the first round to progress to the jump-off. Against the clock, Germany’s Nicola Pohl was the only rider to keep a clean sheet with Exelero 2, a horse previously ridden by Cian O’Connor, to take the top prize of €13,750, ahead of Demark’s Andreas Schou in second place with Darc de Lux (0/4 37.85).

Kildare’s Mikey Pender and Marion Hughes’ home-bred HHS Fast Forward (Heritage Fortunus x Cavalier Royale) finished third after a fence down in the jump-off, just ahead of Kilkenny’s Jack Ryan with BBS McGregor (VDl Cardento x Mark Twain xx), who is owned and bred by Jack’s mother Marguerite Ryan.

Seventeen-year-old Francis Derwin Jnr continued his good of form when finishing second in Sunday’s four-star 1.40m jump-off with the Irish Sport Horse AHG Whiterock Cruise Down (Cruisings Micky Finn x Touchdown) who was bred by Ann Gannon Clancy.

Young rider Sean Monaghan has also shone on the autumn tour and he finished runner-up in Friday’s 1.40m Table A with the Irish Sport Horse mare EMS Adelaide (Mermus R x Loch Cruise) before placing sixth in Saturday’s 1.50m jump-off class. The mare is owned by Daisy Duggan and was bred by Willie McElhinney.

Young horse win

Jack Ryan won Wednesday’s six-year-old 1.25m class with the KWPN stallion Koh-I-Noor, owned by Tracey Forrest and Julia Morris. Kilkenny’s Timmy Brennan finished seventh in the class with Italian-bred Diadema Della Caccia who is owned by Ballywalter Stables.

Brennan was second in the seven-year-old 1.35m with the Olivia Brennan-bred GCS Ita (OBOS Quality x Numero Uno).