Irish jumpers blaze trail to winner’s podium

Bertram Allen and Molly Malone V in the presentation for the Netherlands Grand Prix.
Bertram Allen and Molly Malone V in the presentation for the Netherlands Grand Prix.

Irish showjumpers were on fire over the weekend, with three big international wins falling to riders from the Emerald Isle.

Bertram Allen receives the keys to his new Mercedes for winning the Netherlands Grand Prix.
Bertram Allen receives the keys to his new Mercedes for winning the Netherlands Grand Prix.

In Britain, Trevor Breen took out the Hickstead Derby for the second year in a row, riding Loughnatousa WB to claim the prestigious Boomerang Trophy on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, at Geesteren in The Netherlands, 19-year-old teenager Bertram Allen jumped two clear rounds in the Netherlands Grand Prix with Ballywalter Farms’s mare Molly Malone V.

The Wexford teen sped home in the 13 horse jump-off in a blistering 42.79 seconds. Austria’s Julia Kayser came closest to Allen with the stallion Sterrehof’s Cayetano Z, but was more than four seconds off the pace of the world’s number five-ranked rider.

Allen collected a Mercedes CLA car as his prize for the Grand Prix victory.

David Blake and Binkie winning Saturday night's Grand Prix at Tryon.
David Blake and Binkie winning Saturday night’s Grand Prix at Tryon.

US Grand Prix win for David Blake

In the USA, David Blake added to his weekend of top ten places at the four-star show in Tryon, USA, with a Grand Prix victory on Saturday night.

Blake and Binkie, owned by Pine Hollow Farm, won in a three-horse jump-off as the last pair on course in the class, which Blake used to his advantage.

A deserved reward for Molly Malone V.
A deserved reward for Molly Malone V.

Co Clare-born Blake said: “I knew since there was only three of us in it and there were two good riders in front of me with Andrew (Welles) and Lauren (Tisbo), that they would probably be quicker than me if they were clear.

“When I saw Lauren’s late rail, I had to make a choice when I walked into the ring about whether I wanted to go quick and risk a rail or if I wanted to play it safe.”

The timely decision paid off for Blake, as he and 2006 Dutch Warmblood gelding Binkie had a smooth and fault-free round to secure the €30,000 win. The course, designed by Ken Krome (USA), saw poles drop throughout the night, which Blake commented was the sign of a true course.

The win marked another great effort by Blake and Binkie, who have placed near the top of the leaderboard in almost every class they have contested at Tryon this season.

Shane Sweetnam and Chaqui Z was a close second in the $126,000 Imperial Challenge at Spruce Meadows.
Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam and Chaqui Z were a close second in the $126,000 Imperial Challenge at Spruce Meadows. © Spruce Meadows Media Services

Irish horse wins closing class at Spruce Meadows

4* Imperial Challenge  winner Sameh El Dahan and Suma’s Zorro.
4* Imperial Challenge winner Sameh El Dahan and Suma’s Zorro. © Spruce Meadows Media Services

The 2015 ‘Canada One’ Tournament at Spruce Meadows concluded on Sunday, with an electrifying jump-off in the $126,000 Imperial Challenge and a win for Egypt’s Sameh el Dahan riding Suma’s Zorro. The pair topped an eight-horse jump-off from 35 starters, with Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam and Chaqui Z just pipped for second, ahead of Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) and Armstrong van de Kapel.

Suma’s Zorro is an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare sired by VDL Douglas. She is  jointly owned by Dahan and Ireland’s Joanne Sloan-Allen. A small chestnut with a big heart, Suma’s Zorro carried her rider to one of the biggest wins of his career on Sunday. This was El Dahan’s first 4* grand prix victory.

El Dahan has ridden Suma’s Zorro for four years and knew she would give it her all to clear the final obstacle.

“I know her really well and I know I can trust her,” he said. “I have been riding her since she was a seven-year-old and she is such a fighter in every way. Whatever I ask from her, she never lets me down. She has a great heart.”

Sweetnam was happy with his round on Chaqui Z, who is a young horse, and he was also happy to see Dahan get his win.

“I thought the course builder (Canada’s David Grant) did a great job,” Sweetnam said. “I thought the course was quite big when I walked it, but the time was nice. Eight is a good number to have clear and I thought it was an exciting jump-off. Obviously I was on the wrong side of a second, but I have a young horse and I was very happy with him. Sameh is a great guy and it was a great win for him.”

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