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Irish-breds to the fore for prestigious Badminton trials

Irish-bred horses will be well represented among our entries for this year's Badminton Horse Trials, which get under way in Gloucester on May 8.

One of only six Concours Complet International (CCI) 4-star events, Badminton holds great prestige and attracts bumper entries which are reduced every year to a maximum of 85 starters.

Irish entrants accepted in the first group was Clare Abbott (Euro Prince), Aoife Clark (Fenyas Elegance), Geoff Curran (Shanaclough Crecora), Sarah Ennis (Sugar Brown Babe), Joseph Murphy (Sportsfield Othello), Jim Newsam (Magennis) and Sam Watson (Horseware Bushman).

Mark Kyle and Coolio will now also join them, having been second on the waiting list.

Clark was best placed of the Irish last year when eighth on board Master Crusoe and, this year, she keeps the flag with PJ Hegarty's 10-year-old mare Fenyas Elegance, an impressive winner of the Blenheim CCI*** last September.


In doing so, they became the first ever Irish combination to win the competition.

Out of the multiple-winning show mare Fenya, Fenyas Elegance herself was an All-Ireland champion as a foal, and went on to win the Future Event Horse Championship as a four-year-old.

From there, she progressed to win the mare championship at the RDS in 2008.

Not surprisingly, William Fox-Pitt heads the British entries with four horses, and he will be aiming to add another victory to his resumé, having last won it in 2004 on Tamarillo.

Also among the home entries is Mary King, with the Irish-bred Imperial Cavalier, who placed 13th last year.

Heading the entries from New Zealand is Mark Todd, who first won it back in 1980 and has recorded a further three wins since, the last being in 2011.

More than 200,000 spectators are expected at Badminton on cross-country day, May 10 – making it one of the biggest sporting days of the year.

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