Farm Ireland

Saturday 20 January 2018

Western promise – O'Brien to take Belgium by storm

Athenry native Thomas O'Brien (pictured below) has a trio of horses to compete at Lanaken, with one five-year-old and two six-year-olds at the championships.

The youngest of his rides, Mini Cruzano (ISH), is a 2008 chestnut mare by Silvano (KWPN) out of Hyundai Santa Fe (ISH) by Cruising (ISH). The mare was bred by Oliver Walsh from Kilcolgan, Co Galway and is owned by Leona Walsh.

"This is her first year competing and she finished second in the ISH Studbook League on a total of 20 points," said Thomas. "She is greener than the other horses I will be riding out in Lanaken but she's a careful mare with a great heart. She's only about 15.2hh but jumps bigger."

O'Brien returns to Lanaken for the second time with Codarco (ISH) in the six-year-old competition, having finished in fifth place in the five-year-old final last year.

The 2007 bay stallion by Darco (BEWB) out of Vereedom G (KWPN), by Orame (KWPN) is a real family horse, bred and owned by Thomas's father Tomas.

"He is Dad's pride and joy," laughs Thomas.

His pride is well warranted, given that the horse has won the four-year-old classes in Dublin and Millstreet, the five- and six-year-old league, finished fifth in the six-year-old final at Dublin and second in the Boomerang final at Millstreet.

"We were very happy with him in Lanaken last year and we will be hoping to improve on his fifth place this year," remarked Thomas.

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Last but not least of the Galway man's trio of rides is Sportsfield Eterina (ISH), a 2007 bay mare by C Indoctro II (HOLST) out of Skylea Chin (ISH) by Diamond Chin (ISH).

The mare was bred by Trevor James Frances Morrow from Lilsnaskea, Co Fermanagh and is owned by Noel Delahunty. While Thomas is taking the mare to Lanaken, she is more often competed by Noel's 18-year-old daughter, Lauren.

"She was bought as a four-year-old for Lauren and I've taken her in the odd class here and there," said Thomas.

The mare won the ISH show jumping series at the Galway county show among other titles.

The rider will also compete the recently approved stallion Hector Van D'Abdijheove (BWP) for his owner Raymond Keane.

Irish Independent