Living the dream - Greg the Tipp lad is waiting for the call to the Aga Khan
Published 06/08/2015 | 02:30
He first set foot on the hallowed turf of the RDS as a young boy, an aspiring showjumper who was taken in by the thunder of the hooves and the clatter of fences.
Years later, he returned to help a member of Team Ireland as a teenager. But now Greg Broderick is hotly tipped to represent Ireland in the battle for the Aga Khan trophy in the Dublin Horse Show this week.
Strolling around the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) yesterday, the Tipperary native was only too pleased to stop and chat to the gaggle of younger fans who stood and gazed admiringly at him.
Broderick, who secured a convincing win in the 'Speed Stakes' on the opening day of the annual event, revealed that he used to come as a teenager to help one of his childhood heroes, Shane Breen.
Now he is back as a 29-year-old, on the Team Ireland squad of five, hoping to be among the four who are selected to represent us in the Nations' Cup battle tomorrow.
"It is every Irish rider's dream. The Aga Khan is the be all and end all for Irish riders," he said.
"The stands are full with the home crowd. There is an unbelievable atmosphere here. To be part of the five already feels fantastic."
But what makes a champion showjumper? A little bit of luck and "rub of the green", he says.
"Sometimes a pole stays up and sometimes it falls down and that can be the difference," he added.
The unique thing about the Dublin Horse Show is that young, old, amateurs and professionals all ride alongside each other.
Among the hundreds of participants who had the daunting task of opening the show in south Dublin yesterday morning was Jane Davis.
The 30-year-old from Goatstown, Dublin, was on her horse Prince Eric. Eric, towards whom she nods fondly, is a former racehorse.
Their appearance at the show is a special one and a long-running tradition in her family.
"I have been horseriding forever. Dublin Horse Show is a big part of our lives. As kids, we would have had ponies. It is a very special place. Every year is as special, 100pc," Jane said.
"Dublin is a very different place to come to with your horses. Everyone loves those rings, you've highs and lows.
"My mum used to compete, so did my aunt Liz, who is home from Australia. We kind of roped Dad in about 23 years ago."
Almost 1,500 horses are set to take part in 132 competitions over the five-day festival, which is now in its 151st year.
And while organisers were hoping for a spell of sunny weather in a bid to draw up to 100,000 visitors to the festival, a dark veil of clouds spoiled their wishes yesterday as they unleashed their might upon the crowds throughout the opening day.
The bad weather failed to dampen the spirits of enthusiasts, many of whom flocked to the main arena to watch as this year's 'celebrity' participant guided her horse around the ring.
Georgina Bloomberg, daughter of billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, had a clear round in the Irish Sports Council Classic in the afternoon. There was no sign of her famous dad; however, he is tipped to make an appearance at the end of the week.
Today, the ladies of the showjumping world will swap their jodhpurs and Barbour jackets for something a little more glamorous for Ladies Day.