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Thursday 14 December 2017

Punters bask in the sunshine on first day of Dublin Horse Show

Jack Derwin (2) with cousin Aine Shortall on board Toorboy Tommy in the Simmonscourt arena Photos: Gerry Mooney
Jack Derwin (2) with cousin Aine Shortall on board Toorboy Tommy in the Simmonscourt arena Photos: Gerry Mooney

Sean O’Grady

There may have been a chill in the air when the RDS opened its gates but bright sunshine broke out by the time the Dublin Horse Show got into full swing.

Punters from across the country descended on the south Dublin venue for the annual summer shindig that is considered by many to be one of the best equestrian events in the world.

Slaine Hynes hopes Lauren Murphy makes the final fence for a clear round Photos: Gerry Mooney
Slaine Hynes hopes Lauren Murphy makes the final fence for a clear round Photos: Gerry Mooney

The name on everybody's lips yesterday was that of champion jockey Paul Carberry.

He may have retired from his illustrious racing career last August, but Carberry was back in fighting form at the RDS to enjoy a masterclass in showjumping alongside jockey extraordinaire Robbie Power.

"Showjumping is totally different. It's a different discipline. I'm trying to do a bit of it alright, I've been doing it now for about three years," he said.

The masterclass, run by horse trainer Yogi Breisner, was running smoothly until Carberry was knocked off his stallion while making a jump.

Molly the horse takes a surprise fancy to Julie Husman’s bespoke hat made with Keelings berries. Photos: Gerry Mooney
Molly the horse takes a surprise fancy to Julie Husman’s bespoke hat made with Keelings berries. Photos: Gerry Mooney

"It was great, I took a tumble at one point but anyway, all the better. I only saddled him for the first time two days ago so hopefully he will be OK. He seems good and honest so it will be good to get the experience," he said.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning and Irish Grand National-winning jockey joked he was lucky he gave up showjumping in his youth.

He told the Irish Independent: "I show jumped for most of my youth up until I was 20 and then packed it all in and decided to be a jockey. There's been times I've regretted it, but at the moment, I definitely don't regret it."

Also drawing crowds was Lorenzo 'The Flying Frenchman' who impressed audiences with his ability to ride horses while standing upright, with a horse under each foot.

Lillie Keenan of team USA prepares before taking Fibonacci in the competition ring Photos: Gerry Mooney
Lillie Keenan of team USA prepares before taking Fibonacci in the competition ring Photos: Gerry Mooney

RTÉ sports presenter Tracy Piggott is a regular at racetracks and equestrian events across the country but she reckons there's something special about the Dublin Horse Show.

"There's something for everybody. You've got all the draft horses, the mares and the foals and all the competitions.

"Every day there is something different and interesting, I love watching it all. The atmosphere is second to none," she said.

"It's really the highlight of the summer. I love it all."

Piggott was looking forward to today's Ladies' Day competition, where the lucky winner will walk away with a €10,000 voucher for Dundrum Town Centre.

"You get the most amazing crowds at Ladies' Day and all the women look fantastic. They really get into the spirit of it," she said.

Model Pippa O'Connor was joined by her husband Brian Ormond and their son Ollie (4) to support her brother show jumper Cian O'Connor. "It's Ollie's first year to support his uncle. I think we may have another show jumper on our hands," she said.

RDS Chief Executive Michael Duffy said he is confident this year's show will be another big draw.

Irish Independent

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