Hanley stars with thrilling Stuggart win
The comeback king of Irish showjumping, Mayo's Cameron Hanley, bounced right back to top form when adding fourth place in yesterday's hotly-contested Longines World Cup qualifier to his victory in Saturday's Winning Round in Stuttgart.
The 42-year-old, whose many career highs and lows have included surviving a debilitating leg injury to return to the top of the sport last year, only for it to fall apart when his string was taken away from him, but he showed true grit when overcoming a top-class field on Saturday.
Setting the target in 34.49 seconds with Antello Z he just couldn't be caught in the battle for the Winning Round, not even by former World Cup champions Daniel Deusser and Christian Ahlmann from Germany, who lined up second and third respectively.
Hanley's relationship with the difficult but brilliant 12-year-old gelding has been an emotional one because he was the last horse he rode before breaking his leg in a freak accident in 2011, and the first to provide him with a big victory on his return to action in 2013. When he lost Antello Z along with the rest of his string in January he was devastated, but after talks the horse was returned to him and, now in his own new yard in Germany, the Mayo man is back in business.
Ahlmann had his revenge yesterday when coming out on top with Codex One in the five-way World Cup qualifier jump-off. Ireland's Denis Lynch was among the 34 who didn't make the cut, but Hanley jumped double-clear to finish fourth with the 11-year-old mare Acodate DDL collecting 13 qualifying points and moving into 29th place on the Western European League leaderboard.