Ireland share Pony Challenge honours with Belgium
Ireland's top pony riders rounded up a tremendous season when finishing joint-winners, with Belgium, of the Pony EY Challenge Cup following their third Nations Cup victory of the 2011 series at Chevenez, Switzerland yesterday.
Clear rounds from Tom Foley (Crown Jewel), Max O'Reilly-Hyland (Rock Dee Jay) and Bertram Allen (Acapella Z) ensured a zero score in yesterday's opening round in which Eoin McMahon (Another Destiny) collected just a single time fault. And with another foot-perfect run from O'Reilly-Hyland, and just single errors for both Foley and McMahon in the second round, Allen did not have to jump again as victory was assured.
Ireland's eight-fault finishing score left them a full fence ahead of the Swiss in second, while Belgium finished third, Germany fourth and Italy fifth.
The Swiss competition was the final of the Pony EY Challenge series, and the Irish shared the honours with Belgium when yesterday's success was added to the Irish victories at Fontainebleau, France and Wierden, Holland earlier in the season.
This summer Ireland also won the Pony Nations Cup at Hagen in Germany as well as claiming team silver at the European Pony Championships in Jaszkowo, Poland where Allen, individual gold medallist in 2010, took home the individual silver medal this time round.
Meanwhile, at the Horse of the Year Show in Birmingham yesterday, Cian O'Connor and Goldex finished a close second in the Dick Turpin Stakes in which Shane Breen and Cos I Can slotted into sixth. On Thursday, Trevor Breen steered the Cruising stallion Oldtown KC home to win the seven-year-old championship, while Denis Lynch and Lord Luis were just pipped for pole position in the late-night Jump4Joy International by Britain's Nick Skelton and Big Star.
At Boekolo International Horse Trials in Holland, the Irish eventing team is lying third of 13 nations, after the dressage phase and Capt Brian Curran-Cournane and Ballintogher are in seventh place individually, six marks off joint leaders New Zealand's Mark Todd and Belgium's Raf Kooremans going into today's cross-country phase.