Friday 23 February 2018

Equestrian: Babington shines in Florida qualifier

Louise Parkes

Irish riders took three of the top 11 placings in Saturday's World Cup Qualifier at Wellington, Florida, where Kevin Babington was highest-placed in fifth behind British winner Scott Brash.

Just 11 of the 45 starters jumped clear first time out, and both Tipperary-born Babington and Andrew Bourns, who hails from Ballinasloe, kept a clean sheet again in the second round.

Both were riding Irish-bred horses, Babington partnering a gelding son of OBOS Quality Mark, and Bourns also producing an impressive performance from another 10-year-old gelding, Roundthorn Madios by Condios, to finish seventh.

Armagh man Conor Swail returned a quicker time than Babington, but had to settle for 11th place when his French-bred mare, Ocean de Nantuele, left a pole on the floor.

At Dortmund, Bertram Allen, whose family recently purchased Jessica Kuerten's former yard in Germany, steered Zensation into sixth in the Young Masters League.

Meanwhile, Kuerten, now based near Paris where she is training Edouard de Rothschild, finished sixth in Saturday's Diamond 3 Speed event at the Mediterranean Tour in Valencia.

And Friday winner Conor Drain continued his strong run of form with the aptly named Fine Filly when fourth in the Diamond 1 Speed competition.

Irish Independent

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