GALWAY’s Jessica Burke continued her rise through the international ranks of show jumping when landing a five-star class at CSIO5* Rome last Saturday. Fifth rider on the Irish squad the day previous, she had her moment to shine in the 1.45m KEP Italia speed class on Saturday morning.

Riding Louisa Church’s 10-year-old mare Inpulss, she was the fastest of 26 clears in the class which had 50 starters, breaking the beam in 53.50 seconds to take the top prize of €6,550.

She saw off a challenge from Britain’s Matthew Sampson with the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare MGH Candy Girl (Sligo Candy Boy x Cruising), bred by Timothy Kelleher and owned by Isabel Fox. Italy’s speed expert Emanuele Gaudiano finished third on Julius.D (54.35).

Burke was thrilled with the victory on her first visit to the incredible Piazza di Siena arena. “It’s amazing here, it’s my first time to compete here and I’m thrilled to win. Only four years ago I was still a maths teacher, I had to make a choice and I decided to concentrate full-time on this.”

Speaking about Inpulss, Burke added: “She fantastic, she has won a class at most of the big shows we’ve been to. She is a real superstar; she is so careful and so fast so she’s naturally a brilliant speed horse and she loves that grass arena. I had a good feeling about this class, I knew she would get up a good rhythm in that ring; she loves to run and jump and I really love her on the grass. If we can get to Dublin this year, it would be really exciting to jump her in the speed classes there.

“On the back of what the lads did yesterday [winning the Nations Cup], everyone was really motivated so it was brilliant to get a win.”