Connors breezes to victory in Millstreet
Equestrian Reigning National Showjumping Champion, Francis Connors, and Hugh Fitzpatrick's consistent mare Erne Lady Goldilocks were emphatic winners of the Grand Prix at Millstreet 2-Star International Horse Show in Cork yesterday where teenager Mikey Pender also stole a significant share of the limelight.
Waterford man Connors (55) was one of 12 to qualify for the second-round Grand Prix jump-off and, last to go against the clock, he breezed to victory with the only double-clear of competition. Britain's Graham Lovegrove looked set to pile on the pressure when second-last into the ring with Cento Love, but hit the penultimate fence, while Capt Geoff Curran (37), who scored a brilliant double at Tattersalls in Meath two weeks ago, slotted into third with Dollanstown. Meanwhile 17-year-old Pender dominated the two prestigious young horse finals with a win aboard Forty Roses in the Millstreet Ruby 5-Year-Olds, and a first and second placing in the Boomerang final for 6/7 Year-Old horses.
The Green Glens Arena at Millstreet is a happy hunting ground for the prodigiously-talented Kildare showjumper who won European Pony team silver at the Cork venue in 2014 before repeating that result the following year in Malmo, Sweden. He then shot to international attention when claiming silver and bronze in the Five-Year-Old Final at the World Breeding Championships in Lanaken, Belgium last September in which 229 of the best young horses in the world battled for medals. At the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, London on Saturday, Denis Lynch pocketed €45,000 for third place with All Star in the Global Champions Tour Grand Prix won by Britain's Scott Brash on Hello Forever to claim the €99,000 winner's purse. Lynch has been named in the Irish squad for next Friday's Aga Khan Cup at Dublin Horse Show.