Bruce Springsteen attends Dublin Horse Show to cheer on daughter Jess
Published 07/08/2014 | 00:00
Top class horses and an up close and personal encounter with 'The Boss' in equally fine fettle - life really couldn't get much better at the Dublin Horse Show.
Just when spectators had given up all hope that he would turn up, there he was in the stands of the RDS and with a wide beam on his face.
This was the rock superstar in relaxed downtime mode, soaking up the finest of the 'Glory Days' - wrapped up unseasonally amid the balmy conditions - and this time he was clearly very happy not to be centre stage.
For once, the focus was not entirely on him but on his beautiful daughter, Jessica (22), making her show-jumping debut with the highly competitive and prestigious Team USA.
His appearance made the Dublin Lord Mayor Christy Burke very happy indeed as he wandered amid the bowler hats.
"It would be great if he arrives, great for the country," he had said earlier. "Hopefully he won't let us down," he said.
There could be little doubt that this was a pointed barb towards the Line-Dancing One.
Still nursing his wounds after the endlessly tedious Garth Brooks debacle, he grimaced when the mere name was mentioned.
"Don't mention the war," he groaned.
Springteen and wife Patti Scialfa had kept a very low profile indeed but eventually they were picked out of the crowd as they sat in the VIP stands, holding their breath for Jessica - a jaunty and dapper figure in her red jacket.
Bruce was 'Born to Run' - but his daughter was clearly born to gallop.
It just didn't go her way.
And even though it was to Ireland's advantage, clearly torn between loyalty to the nation and loyalty to the Springsteen clan, a groan of sympathy erupted from the stands as she knocked a fence in her opening round in the Irish Sports Council Classic.
With several of her horses taking part in the show, this time she had been on board Vindicat W - the horse that won gold for British rider Peter Charles at the London Olympics and which is estimated to have set her back around €6m.
She was eventually placed 26th in the competition and left the grounds looking flustered and upset.
A lengthy debrief with her coach in the practice ring followed. Then she went directly up to join her parents for lunch.
A posse of press stood at the bottom of the stand and eventually Bruce and Patti came down the steps with their faces wreathed in sheepish smiles that said: "You got us."
"Gotta pass," Patti beamed as they squeezed by in such close proximity that the situation would surely have given their security team conniptions if it had been anywhere else but the dignified surrounds of the RDS.
When asked if they were having a good time, she said it had been a "great day." And were they proud of their daughter? "Of course!" she said.
Earlier, Jessica told how she had been thrilled to be in the RDS in her own right.
"It's incredible," she said.
"I came here to watch seven years ago and my dad did a concert here two years ago but to be competing here is a huge moment in my career. I'm really excited to be here."
"You're really competing with the best riders in the world and it kind of makes you take your level of riding up a notch," she said.
Miriam O'Callaghan was at the show to officially launch the new Brian Boru crown for the Jewels for Cures not-for-profit.
"She's been the uncrowned queen of Ireland for long enough," said Professor John Crown, making as though to put it on her head.
"Let's make it official."