ROBBIE Kearns made a brief trip back to Ireland last week for the Semalease Kilguilkey House international and while he didn’t time to visit his native Limerick, his parents Trish and Gerry drove to Co Cork to see him win the CCI2*-L on his Irish Sport Horse gelding, Very Dignified.

The last time I spoke to Kearns he was studying Business and Economics at Trinity from which he graduated in the summer of 2020 during Covid times and then competed on the home eventing circuit. In November that year, he joined the Kevin McNab yard in Surrey where he doesn’t use his degree but, instead, has learned a lot from the Australian international and his wife Emma.

“They are both very helpful and I love it here,” said the 24-year-old who completed on his dressage score (27.7) as the marginal leader after the first phase, Sarah Ennis, recorded 12 show jumping penalties on Diamond Fusion who had been on a mark of 27. The only other double clear was posted by Ian Cassells on the six-year-old Grand Gayle gelding Millright Athos (29.3) as Dominic Furnell had a pole down to finish third with Luxys Time (32.4).

“I thought the cross-country track was brilliant and that Danny did a super job,” said Kearns, adding, “it was so good to see some green grass! I still have to qualify but I’d hope to get to Le Lion and will probably be back in Ireland for Millstreet.”

Not too surprisingly, Very Dignified is by Dignified van’t Zorgvliet. The brown gelding was bred in Co Wexford by Deirdre Bowler out of Kateys Gem, a Grade A jumping pony by Ricardo Z. In May, Kearns and Very Dignified won a Novice event at Tweseldown which they followed with a second-place finish in similar company at Little Downham.