In an outstanding day for the Irish breeding industry, two Irish Sport Horses finished in the medals at the FEI World Breeding Championships for Young Horses at Lanaken, Belgium on Sunday.
The Irish success came in the afternoon's closing event, the seven-year-old contest in which Laura Renwick (GBR) partnered Kilkenny-bred Irish Sport Horse MHS Washington, and Eoin McMahon rode Talks Cheap, bred in Limerick by Ronnie Kelly.
Both made it into the 12-horse jump-off, with Renwick snatching the lead only to be pipped for the gold medal by Belgium's Gregory Whatelet on Mjt Nevados S by 0.16 of a second.
Eoin McMahon, then made a bold bid for glory with Talks Cheap, delivering another clear round in a time that netted him the Bronze medal behind Renwick who held onto silver.
MHS Washington is a bay mare by O.B.O.S. Quality 004 (OLD) out of Mill Royale (ISH), by Cavalier Royale (HOLST). She was bred by Ita Brennan in Co Kilkenny and is jointly owned by Laura Renwick and J. Renwick & L. Renwick.
Talks Cheap (ISH) is a brown mare by Tinaranas Inspector (WESTF) out of Dreaming (ISH), by Colin Diamond (ISH). Bred by Ronnie Kelly in Co Limerick, she is owned by Carl Hanley Sporthorses GmbH.
Earlier in the day, Francis Connors secured a top 10 finish in the six-year-old contest, coming ninth on another Irish Sport Horse, Drumiller Houdini.
The 2009 grey mare is by Clinton (HOLST) out of Never (ISH), by Ballinvella (TB) and was bred by Paul Dillon in Co Armagh. She is owned by The Grove Group.
Congratulating the medal winners, chef d'equipe Comdt. John Ledingham said: "It was wonderful to see horses that have been sold from Ireland continuing to fly the flag for the Irish Sport Horse, and their new owners and riders so proud to do so. It was very progressive to see new Horse Sport ireland international marketing manager Elaine Hatton there to witness the medal-winning performances."
Horse Sport Ireland Breeding Manager Alison Corbally said that out of a quota of 15 ISH horses "to have seven successfully qualified for the finals from a total of 706 entries was a good reflection of the breeding policy and the quality of show jumpers currently being bred in Ireland."
Meanwhile, there was another boost for Irish breeding at Blenheim, Great Britain Horse Trials, where Irish Sport Horse Loughan Glen carried American Clark Montgomery to an emphatic victory in the main class, while Jonty Evans and Aoife Clarke both put Irish Sport Horses into the frame in the 8/9 year-old class, Evans partnering Cooley Rorkes Drift (ISH) to 3rd, with Clark taking 6th on Wasting Light (ISH).