Thursday 24 May 2018

O'Neill claims World gold

Both 18-year-old Pender and 21-year-old Ryan fell victim to the clever jump-off track which seriously tested the horses' confidence. Stock photo: Getty Images
Both 18-year-old Pender and 21-year-old Ryan fell victim to the clever jump-off track which seriously tested the horses' confidence. Stock photo: Getty Images

Louise Parkes

Top Irish horse producer Ger O'Neill kept up the strong Irish record at the FEI World Breeding Jumping Championships when claiming gold in the Six-Year-Old division with Columbcille Gipsy in Belgian town of Lanaken.

From a massive starting field of 260 in Thursday's qualifier, seven Irish contenders made the cut into the final in this age category, but only O'Neill, Mikey Pender (HHS Fortune) and Darragh Ryan (Lackamore Storm) jumped clear in yesterday's first round. 

And both 18-year-old Pender and 21-year-old Ryan fell victim to the clever jump-off track which seriously tested the horses' confidence and courage. However O'Neill's consistently successful grey mare, winner of this summer's €40,000 Breeders Classic, set the standard with a blistering run when seventh to go and couldn't be caught. 

Meanwhile Irish Chef d'Equipe, Rodrigo Pessoa, has confirmed the team for next weekend's FEI Nations Cup Final in Barcelona to include all of his gold-medal-winning European Championship side of Bertram Allen (Molly Malone), Cian O'Connor (Good Luck), Shane Sweetnam (Chaqui Z) and Denis Lynch (All Star) along with Shane Breen (Liath/Ipswich van de Wolfsakker).

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