IRELAND’s Padraig McCarthy holds pole position in the feature class, The Irish Field CCI*** class at Tattersalls International Horse Trials in association with Horse Sport Ireland in Co Meath.
Riding a horse previously campaigned by his wife, British international rider Lucy, Mr Chunky, McCarthy climbed the leaderboard on cross-country day, having been best of the Irish in the three-star international class after dressage.
The Tipperary rider, who switched allegiance from show jumping to international eventing only three years ago, lies on a score 44.7 and has only the narrowest of margins over his nearest rival, Australian Paul Tapner (Prince Mayo) on 44.8.
Another Antipodean rider, Andrew Hoy, holds third place with The Blue Frontier (51.8), while fourth place is occupied by Britain’s Michael Owen (The Highland Prince).
Ireland’s Sarah Ennis and Horseware Stellor Rebound lie in fifth place (57), followed by young Irish rider Tony Kennedy and Westeria Lane (58.1).
The final show jumping phase of the three-star international class takes place tomorrow afternoon at Tattersalls.
Meanwhile Austin O’Connor holds the lead heading into Sunday’s final cross-country phase of the George Mernagh Memorial CIC*** competition at Tattersalls.
Today’s show jumping phase saw most of the top contenders jump clear to remain on their dressage scores.
O’Connor and the Irish Sport Horse Kilpatrick Knight, remained on their score of 42.30 penalties when they crept inside the time allowed by just one hundredth of second.
New Zealander Tim Price is the biggest threat to an Irish win in the CIC*** class. He lurks in second place with Ringwood Sky Boy (ISH), 2.6 penalties behind O’Connor.
Jonty Evans and Cooley Rorkes Drift lie in third, while Padraig McCarthy lies in fourth (Simon Porloe) and fifth (Bernadette Utopia).
The next sevenplaces on the leaderboard are all filled by Irish riders, including many of the contenders for the team Eventing places at the Rio Olympic Games.
Horse Sport Ireland Eventing team manager Nick Turner will select his four Rio-bound athletes this Tuesday, with a host of Irish combinations hoping to impress when Tattersalls comes to a conclusion with the exciting cross-country contest on Sunday.
FULL COVERAGE OF TATTS 2016 IN THE IRISH FIELD NEXT WEEK