Equestrian: Dynamic duo gunning for another clean sweep
Bandon couple Patricia and Michael Ryan will be coming out with all guns blazing at the Tattersalls International Horse Trials at Fairyhouse in Meath next week, where Patricia will defend her 2009 World Cup Qualifier title with Fernhill Clover Mist.
The Cork duo swept the boards last year, taking first and second places in the World Cup event.
Tattersalls is sixth of the 12 HSBC qualifiers, and the British entries include three riders who placed in the top 10 at last weekend's fifth leg at Chatsworth House in England, along with Ollie Townend, whose dream of winning the Eventing Grand Slam at last month's Rolex event in Kentucky was shattered by a nasty fall from which he has made a good recovery.
Also flying the flag for Britain will be Zara Philips, whose 2009 visit to Meath is probably best-remembered for a slow-motion dismount at the water complex in the 1-star class with Make Mine Music. She is listed for the feature competition with Trevor Hemmings' High Kingdom.
The Irish World Cup starting list includes Captain Brian Curran-Cournane and veteran team member Susan Shortt, while Jayne Doherty and Aoife Clarke, who made an impression when finishing fourth and fifth respectively with The Only One and Master Crusoe in the CIC 3-star at Chatsworth, are likely to bolster Irish chances.
Doherty has been in particularly good form, winning the CIC 3-star with The Only One and the 2-star with Ravenstar at Ballindenisk in Cork last month.
The Tattersalls International has established itself as one of the most popular events on the international circuit in recent years and huge crowds are expected to descend on the Meath venue for cross-country day on Saturday week, May 29.
The six scheduled classes have attracted a field of almost 300 runners.
Meanwhile, Irish eventing got a boost last week when it was confirmed that Ballindenisk will return to the top end of the eventing fixture list when, for the first time in 11 years, it will host a CCI 3-star next September.