Equestrian: Curran bids to put US woe behind with good showing at Badminton
Capt Geoff Curran clocked up more air-miles this week as he whirled around from his disappointing trip to the 4-Star Event in Kentucky to return for this weekend's Badminton Horse Trials in England.
Hampered by a cross-country blip with The Jump Jet, the 29-year-old Waterford rider finished well down the order in Kentucky, but will be hoping for a better result at the top British event.
The army man will ride the 14-year-old grey gelding Balladeer Alfred with which he finished fourth at Strzegom CCI 3-Star in Poland last season, but this will be his first run over the formidable course which has only ever produced one Irish winner -- Major Eddie Boylan, who scooped the honours in 1965 with Durlas Eile.
Seasoned Bandon couple, Patricia and Michael Ryan also line out. Patricia brings her 2008 Olympic horse Fernhill Clover Mist, while Michael is two-handed, with both the veteran 16-year-old Old Road and the less experienced 10-year-old Ballylynch Adventure.
Wexford's Niall Grimes rides his Athens Olympic horse Lorgaine, while Kent-based Sacha Pemble partners I've Been Dun with which she finished 10th at Luhmuehlen 4-Star in Germany last summer.
British-based Corkman Austin O'Connor, on his fourth visit, brings 13-year-old Pocket Rocket, which finished one spot ahead of Pemble's gelding at Luhmuehlen in 2009.
Carlow rider Sam Watson rides the 11-year-old home-bred Horseware Bushman. He has big boots to fill as his father John won individual silver at the 1978 World Championships in Kentucky.
Meath rider Elizabeth Power also travels with family baggage as the 25-year-old is daughter of former army jumping star Capt Con Power and sister of Aintree Grand National winning jockey Robert Power. But she showed she has no shortage of talent herself when finishing 11th at Badminton last year with Kilpatrick River, which she partners again this week.
Completing the Irish contingent is 36-year-old Leicestershire-based Mark Kyle, who will ride the 11-year-old Step In Time. Kyle is on form having scooped the honours in CIC 2-Star at Scone Palace in Scotland last Sunday for the second successive year riding Coolio.
Eventing High Performance Manager Ginny Elliott, who recently signed up a new three-year contract with Horse Sport Ireland, has said the 2010 Badminton and Luhmuehlen events will used as selection windows for the World Equestrian Games in September.
The dressage phase is on Friday with cross-country on Sunday and show jumping on Monday.