FIRST of all, we would have to say that Jo’ell Stafford, one of the commentators at last week’s world breeding championships for young event horses at Le Lion d’Angers, displayed no favouritism when it came to came to congratulating those who got home clear within the time across the country on Saturday.

One such rider to be loudly, and quite understandably, lauded on her completion, was Co Kilkenny’s Christine O’Donnell who was thrilled with his performance over the fixed fences in the CCI3*-L for seven-year-olds by BGK Valentine. The Craigsteel gelding, a 2018 Goresbridge Go For Gold Sale graduate, is now on the market.

However, far more intriguing was Jo’ell’s dispatch of “a big hug and kiss” to Christine’s father Kevin. What’s the story here we wondered. “Easily explained,” said Kevin on his return to Ireland. “We were in France last year at the wedding of a friend and Jo’ell was also one of the guests! We were delighted to meet her again at Le Lion.”