IRISH eventing rider Jonty Evans and the Irish Sport Horse Cooley Rorkes Drift won Sunday's CIC3* competition at Belton Horse Trials in Lincolnshire, in England.
The pair held the lead after dressage, with an excellent score of 28.8 penalties, and remained on that score after a clear show jumping round.
The final cross country phase saw Evans and the 12-year-old gelding also jump clear, adding just 3.6 time penalties to finish on a total of 32.40, ahead of British runner-up Piggy French with Vanir Kamira.
A massive fundraising effort in 2017 saw Jonty Evans retain the ride on Cooley Rorkes Drift after the horse was put up for sale by his owners. The pair were Ireland’s highest-placed finishers in the eventing competition at the Rio Olympics, taking ninth place overall.
There was also Irish success in Section N of the CIC3* at Belton with Austin O’Connor taking runner-up spot with the Irish Sport Horse Lucky Contender.
• Cooley Rorkes Drift (ISH) – 2006 bay gelding by Courage II (HOLST) out of Doon-A-Ree Lass (ISH), by Rachelle Comet (TB). Bred by William McCarrison, Co. Down. Owner/Rider: Jonty Evans (IRL)
• Lucky Contender (ISH) – 2008 bay gelding by Chacoa (HOLST) out of Power Rules (TB), by King Luthier (TB). Bred by John Ryan, Co. Tipperary. Owner: Wendie Foster. Rider: Austin O’Connor (IRL)