ON the first full weekend of international competition since the forced break following the EHV-1 virus outbreak in Europe, Co Meath's Alexander Butler claimed victory for Ireland in Sunday's two-star Grand Prix at Bonheiden in Belgium.
Twelve of the 64 starters made it into the jump-off where an excellent second round clear in 32.67 seconds saw Butler take victory with the 14-year-old stallion Chilli B, finishing almost a second and-a-half ahead of Belgian runner-up Pieter Devos with Jade VD Bisschop. Ireland was also represented in the jump-off by Wexford's Harry Allen and he went on to take sixth place with the 10-year-old gelding Guinness.
Alexander Butler was delighted to be back competing following the disruption caused by Covid-19 followed by the EHV-1 virus.
Butler said: "It has been a very slow year but now hopefully we can keep going. I have a nice string of horses that have the ability to compete at the big shows and am looking forward to the rest of the season."
Offaly's Darragh Kenny taking victory in Sunday's $35,000 National Grand Prix at ESP Spring II in Florida, filling two of the top three places. Kenny guided Idalville D’Esprit, owned by Heathman Farm, LLC to victory
USA win for Kenny
Meanwhile across the Atlantic, Offaly's Darragh Kenny continued his excellent form when taking victory in Sunday's $35,000 National Grand Prix at ESP Spring II in Florida, filling two of the top three places. Kenny guided Idalville D’Esprit, owned by Heathman Farm, LLC to victory while he also filled third spot with Scarlett Du Sart Z, owned by Vlock Show Stables, LLC.
“He’s an exceptionally talented horse,” Kenny commented. “He had a great record with Eric jumping some really big Grand Prix classes and was fantastic. I think the horse is incredible and I’ve just been building him up slowly, but his jump feels amazing. He feels like he can jump anything and do anything, so I’m really excited.”
“I wanted to get to know the horse more than anything,” Kenny explained of his plan for the jump-off. “He jumped fantastic in the first round and that was the first jump-off I’ve done on him. I wanted to see what my boundaries were and how fast I could go. He was brilliant. He was careful, rideable, and he jumped great, so I was really, really happy with him.”
Louise Hooijen pony dressage rider scored an impressive 72.7% to take a fantastic victory in the the Freestyle to Music class at Montefalco CDIP in Italy
Meanwhile, Irish pony dessage rider Louise Hooijen and Valhallas Zorro scored an impressive 72.7% to take a fantastic victory in the the Freestyle to Music class at Montefalco CDIP in Italy on Sunday. The combination also placed third in both the team and individual classes on Friday and Saturday but had a clear victory in the Kur with a winning margin of over 4%.
Louise, who joined the Horse Sport Ireland Youth Dressage Programme last year, commented after the prize giving: “It’s great to be out competing again and I’m thrilled with our win in the freestyle”.
Source: Horse Sport Ireland press release