IRISH Pony riders completed a memorable weekend at the French international show in Fontainebleau, with a stunning win for Westmeath’s Kate Derwin in Sunday's feature 1m30 Grand Prix, while Cork’s Lucy Shanahan took third place on the podium.
Four Irish riders managed to jump clear in the opening round to take their place in a 10-pony jump-off. Fifteen-year-old Kate Derwin guided the Clive Swindell-owned nine-year-old Connemara pony Cul Ban Mistress, to a blistering clear round in 39.51 to take the winner's trophy.
French rider Camille Favrot was two seconds slower with Uhelem De Seille to finish as runner-up.
Lucy Shanahan and Cinderella Girl (ISH) had taken the early lead for Ireland in the jump-off with a clear round in 45.40 and would hold on to take third place on the podium. Roscommon’s Cora Sharkey with Whos Arco (ISH) finished fifth, while Co Down’s Ruari Clarke and Knockroe Little Mike (ISH) took seventh place.
Speaking after her superb win, a delighted Kate Derwin said: “I was here in France last year and watched the Grand Prix and saw the pony that won it and I really wanted to come back this year. I walked the course and watched a few ponies jump and saw what I had to do. The course rode really well in in the first round an the jump-off. To win the Grand Prix is just thrilling.”
A superb day for Ireland was completed when Kate Derwin was awarded leading girl rider of the show, while Mayo’s Ciaran Nallon completed an Irish whitewash of the final day prizes as he was awarded leading boy rider at the French venue.
Irish pony Chef d’Equipe Gary Marshall had earlier saw his team take third place on the podium in the Fontainebleau Nations Cup on Saturday.