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Thursday 21 September 2017

Four out of four as Ireland gets ready for Aga Khan Cup Day

Right: Aoibheann McMonagle, winner of Best Dressed Lady Photo: Damien Eagers
Right: Aoibheann McMonagle, winner of Best Dressed Lady Photo: Damien Eagers

Sean O'Grady and Louise Parkes

There may have been plenty of fuss over the fashion, but talk on day two of the Dublin Horse Show quickly turned to the coveted Aga Khan National Cup.

It's four out of four for Ireland going into cup day today after Greg Broderick made it a double of international class wins with Zuidam, and Bertram Allen galloped to victory with Izzy by Picobello.

Allen, who was runner-up with Izzy by Picobello on Wednesday, said: "Yesterday when I came out of the ring I thought I could have done better, but I knew it would have to be a faster horse to get me today."

Rodrigo Pessoa will be hoping that Irish domination will continue when Allen (Molly Malone), Cian O'Connor (Good Luck), Denis Lynch (RMF Echo) and Mark McAuley (Miebello) line out in the Aga Khan this afternoon.

Former Miss World Erin Holland Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Former Miss World Erin Holland Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Ireland will be second to go in the eight-nation contest which is the last leg of the 2017 FEI Nations Cup series.

Tough

Ireland has won the Aga Khan competition 23 times since its inception in 1926.

However, Pessoa's team will face a tough challenge, not least from Britain, who will be looking to add to their impressive total of 26 Aga Khan wins.

Women enjoying Ladies Day. Photo: Barbara Lindberg
Women enjoying Ladies Day. Photo: Barbara Lindberg

Both Allen and O'Connor were on the last winning Irish team in 2015, and McAuley, from Ardee, Co Louth, was all smiles as he spoke of making his family proud.

"My dad is here and the rest of my family and they're very excited. I've had a great year so far and this is the ultimate reward I suppose, to be here and to be selected for the Aga Khan.

"Since the age of 19 or 20, I would have jumped every year. I think for most of us Irish riders, it's the ultimate goal.

"When we would be here as young kids riding ponies, we would come in on the Friday and watch the Nation's Cup and the Irish riders and just aspire to be there one day.

Holly Carpenter. Photo: Damien Eagers
Holly Carpenter. Photo: Damien Eagers

"It's the ultimate achievement. I feel very lucky to be on this team."

The grounds of the RDS were heaving from early afternoon as ladies crowded around the parade ring in colourful ensembles.

A number of well-known faces were out to enjoy the day and head to the Champagne bar.

Former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh was spotted enjoying the Best Dressed Lady competition with friends.

Vivian O’Connor, from Celbridge, Co Kildare. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Vivian O’Connor, from Celbridge, Co Kildare. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Stylist Courtney Smith and Lorna Weightman wandered about and posed against a floral picture frame.

While former Miss World Erin Holland, from Australia, seemed determined to make the most of her first trip.

"This is my very first time in Ireland.

Kerry Ann Rowan, Allison Saul and Kate Donohoe Photo: Damien Eagers
Kerry Ann Rowan, Allison Saul and Kate Donohoe Photo: Damien Eagers

"My family is from here so to come and see where they are from is very cool," she said.

Irish Independent

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