Wednesday 28 September 2016

Irish make their mark at badminton

Siobhan English

Published 20/05/2015 | 02:30

Michael Ryan competing at Badminton
Michael Ryan competing at Badminton

Irish-bred event horses accounted for over 40pc of the entries at the recent Badminton Horse Trials and it was particularly encouraging to see three of them finish in the top-10 on the final day behind eventual winner William Fox-Pitt on Chilli Morning.

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These included Ballylynch Adventure, ridden by Ireland's Michael Ryan, and Paulank Brockagh, winner in 2014 with Australian Sam Griffiths.

Leading the charge for the ISH Studbook in seventh was One Two Many, ridden by Britain's Nicola Wilson. By the Holsteiner stallion Chacoa out of Cul Na Breathar, by Colin Diamond, the 13-year-old gelding lay 21st after dressage but rose three places with a fast cross-country round. The pair then moved up to seventh position with one of only a handful of show jumping clears to complete on a penalty score of 51.0.

Bred in Limerick by John O'Brien, One Two Many has been a consistent performer for Wilson in the past two years and last autumn won the Blair Castle CIC*** before placing eighth at Pau in France.

Next best on the leaderboard was Ryan with the 15-year-old gelding Ballylynch Adventure. The pair also made an impressive rise up the rankings after dressage, where they placed 48th, to 21st after cross-country when adding just 1.2 penalties to their early score of 52.1. Another show jumping clear put them in contention and into ninth spot which was a career best for the Cork-based rider at the venue.

Ballylynch Adventure was bred in Co Meath by well-known stallion handler John Hughes and is by Hughes' former resident sire Don Juan de le Bouverie out of the thoroughbred mare Stanman Girl, by Standaan.

This was the gelding's first attempt at Badminton, having finished 16th at Burghley in 2014. Last year Ryan received the Armada Dish for five Badminton completions.

Completing the top-10 finish was the 2014 winner Paulank Brockagh. Ridden again by Sam Griffiths the 12-year-old was down the field in 31st after dressage but impressed when adding just 1.6 time penalties on the cross-country and moved up to 16th. Despite making one error in the show jumping they had still done enough to complete on a final score of 53.8.

Longford-based Maire Ni Raghallaigh was delighted to see Shannondale Titan place 18th for Australian Bill Levett. The 12-year-old gelding by Limmerick is out of the breeder's good mare Rocklea, by Leabeg. She is also the dam of Ballingowan Pizazz, a 13-year-old gelding by OBOS Quality 004 ridden for the US by Michael Pollard who finished sixth in the CCI*** at Jersey Fresh Horse Trials in New Jersey over the same weekend.

Topping the leaderboard there was Bruce Davidson riding the ISH gelding Ballynoecastle RM.

Thrilled

Badminton itself provided plenty of surprises over the course of the weekend, but Irish rider Aoife Clark was thrilled with her eighth placing on the New Zealand-bred gelding Vaguely North.

The UK-based rider achieved a personal best in dressage of 42.9 on the first day to slot into 10th position ahead of the cross-country challenge, and here they dropped just one placing with the addition of 4.8 penalties.

Another four faults in show jumping left them on a final score of 51.7, but this was a super result for the 33-year-old who just recently relinquished the ride on her other top horse Fenya's Elegance. P.J. Hegarty's 11-year-old home-bred mare by Ricardo Z will now be ridden by Britain's Oliver Townend. The pair is expected to make their three-star debut at Tattersalls next week.

Irish rider Joseph Murphy was the recipient of the Glentrool Trophy at Badminton for making the highest rise in the placings after dressage. Riding Sportsfield Othello, the pair lay in 70th after the first phase but provided one of just 11 clears on the cross-country to move up to 28th. They then added four faults in the show jumping to finish eventual 25th.

"I came here with two horses and I had thought that, of the two of them, Electric Cruise would be the more competitive, but it just wasn't our competition (the pair ran into difficulties at the Mirage Pond on cross country day). Sportsfield Othello finds dressage in a buzzy atmosphere quite difficult.

"We had two down in the show jumping - one was my fault and the other was his - but overall I was thrilled with his jumping and at how he tackled both jumping phases," he concluded.

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