Equestrian: Birthday to remember for Carey, but Irish falter in Zurich
Single-fence errors kept all three Irish runners out of the jump-off in the World Cup Qualifier at Zurich, Switzerland yesterday, but in Neustadt, Germany, Capt Shane Carey celebrated his 32nd birthday by taking the Young Horse Championship in convincing style.
Carey, from Crecora in Limerick, has taken a year's leave-of-absence from the Army Equitation School to run a busy yard just north of Copenhagen in Denmark with his Danish girlfriend Linnea Ericsson.
Hugely successful during his pony show-jumping years, and a lynchpin of the Irish senior team throughout the new millennium with good army horses, including Killossery and River Foyle, he has been competing on the European circuit in a civilian capacity throughout the winter.
And over the weekend he completely dominated the highly-competitive Young Horse classes when winning both of the qualifying legs and the final competition with the Hannovarian Temple Road, which is jointly owned by Cian O'Connor and McNamee Bakeries.
He has always been a speed specialist, and yesterday he sealed the title with a great second-round run against the clock that brought him home almost a full second ahead of German team-member Philipp Weishaupt, riding Carrico, while the Ukraine's Katrina Offel slotted into third with Vesuvius.
In Zurich all eyes were on Jessica Kuerten, who was looking to repeat her back-to-back double of wins in last year's World Cup series by following her victory in Leipzig a week earlier.
She looked on form when following her second-place finish with Castle Forbes Cosma on Friday with a win with Miribel d'Auvray on Saturday, but a long stand-off at the triple bar in yesterday's World Cup qualifier put paid to her chances of doing the double again with Castle Forbes Libertina.
Denis Lynch and All Inclusive also left one on the floor, as did Corkman Billy Twomey with Tinka's Serenade. The competition was won by European team gold medallist Steve Guerdat of Switzerland riding Tresor, who devastated the opposition with a blistering run in the nine-horse second-round decider.