Massive entry for Horse Show
Horse Show fever is nearing boiling point with just two weeks to go to the RDS extravaganza, which has attracted a massive entry of 1,275 horses for the showing and national jumping classes and a further 170 for the 5-Star international jumping competitions.
And this year's Failte Ireland Dublin Horse Show brings together three of the top 10 riders in the world rankings, two of whom are Irish. World No 2 Kevin Staut will line out on the French team while No 7 Billy Twomey and No 8 Denis Lynch will be flying the Irish flag.
Also in action will be reigning World champion Philippe Le Jeune, and the man who sprang a big surprise when took the world silver medal last September, Saudi Arabia's Abdullah Al Sharbatly,
With money tighter than ever, it has never been more important for breeders and producers to find a marketplace for their stock. So the decision taken by the Irish Shows Association (ISA) to restrict entry to their National Championship series this year has been highly unpopular.
In contrast, the RDS has kept entry to its showing classes open to all-comers on the basis that the best horse will win, regardless of breeding background.
One of the highlights of the show will be a masterclass with the legendary George Morris who, at the age of 73, remains Chef d'Equipe to the American team. Morris will put Irish National champion Eddie Moloney and Kelly Allen, gold medallist at the 2009 European Pony Championships, through their paces.
For show jumpers on the national circuit this weekend is crucial, as, following the TRM/SJI Premier Grand Prix at Fairyhouse on Sunday, the top three riders on the league table will book the last available spots for the international classes at the RDS.