Equestrian: Ryan jumps to creditable third in Fairyhouse World qualifier
Britain's Ollie Townend swept to a convincing victory in the HSBC World Cup Eventing Qualifier at Tattersalls International Horse Trials in Fairyhouse yesterday when Corkman Michael Ryan finished best of the Irish in third place.
The 27-year-old Yorkshireman was on a mission, determined to make amends after his hopes of scooping the grand slam of eventing, and several of his bones, were crushed by a horrible fall from the Irish-bred Ashdale Cruise Master in Kentucky last month.
Riding the same 10-year-old gelding, he took the lead from the outset of the Irish event last Thursday, however, and never loosened his grip, clinching the win in yesterday's show jumping phase with a brilliant last-to-go effort from the grey, bought for just €8,000 at Goresbridge Sales in Kilkenny.
Ryan, meanwhile, returned the only fault-free round of the show jumping track yesterday with Ballylynch Adventure, and he moved up one place from overnight fourth and put himself into contention for selection with this gelding for the forthcoming World Equestrian Games.
Elsewhere, young Carlow rider Sam Watson's luck ran out when a single fence down with Hoyo yesterday dropped him from first to fourth in the CCI 2-Star won by Kiwi wizard Andrew Nicholson and the spectacular Spanish-bred Quimbo, while Patricia Ryan was fourth with Ballylynch Taldis Porter in the 1-Star, in which Britain's William Fox-Pitt and Bay My Hero reigned supreme.
Shane Power was best of the home runners when third with TLB Interactive in the Junior division, while it was left to racehorse trainer Aidan O'Brien's daughter Sarah to claim the only Irish red ribbon of the weekend when she steered the ever-reliable Ice Cool Bailey into the winner's enclosure in the Pony competition.