Kenny bags €70,000 and a car in Belgian triumph
Offaly's Darragh Kenny (31) posted a massive result, winning yesterday's €500,000 Rolex Grand Prix with 13-year-old stallion Balou du Reventon at Knokke in Belgium.
The man from Belmont in Offaly claimed an Audi Q7 worth €93,000 along with more than €71,000 in prize money after pipping the reigning individual world champions, Germany's Simone Blum and her brilliant mare Alice DSP, in a six-way jump-off.
And cementing a superb Irish week at the 5-Star fixture, Wexford's Bertram Allen (23) finished third with Harley vd Bisschop while Louth's Mark McAuley (32) steered Valentino Tuiliere into sixth place.
McAuley had a fence down when first to go against the clock, and then Blum set what seemed an impossible target when scorching through the finish in 42.65 seconds to throw it down to the rest.
Allen gave it his best shot, breaking the beam in 42.96 but, last to go, Kenny clinched it, racing across the line in 42.17 seconds.
He had already won Saturday's 3-Star Grand Prix with Sweet Tricia and his consistent form throughout the week saw him take the Leading International Rider title ahead of Allen in second place.
Kenny is enjoying a purple patch, winning all before him including the Commonwealth Grand Prix at Kentucky a few weeks ago and he collected €122,000 for a runner-up spot in the Global Champions Tour at Shanghai partnering Ann Thompson's Balou du Reventon last month.
Along with US rider Hardin Towell, the Irishman operates Oaklands Stables which has bases in both Holland and Florida specialising in rider training and horse sales.
Meanwhile Irish dressage got another big boost at the weekend with great results at the 4-Star CDI in Fritzens-Schindlhof, Austria, where Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K finished third behind World No 1 and German legend Isabell Werth, in both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special.
Anna Merveldt and her new ride, the Esporim, lined up eighth and ninth in each class.
The result is timely as Reynolds and Merveldt will join 12-time Irish national champion Heike Holstein on the Irish team at the FEI Dressage Nations Cup in Aachen, Germany, next month.
Ireland will also field a dressage team at the 2019 FEI European Championships in Rotterdam in August where qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is up for grabs.