Show jumper Cian O’Connor added to the prize haul by Irish riders when he snatched the world-famous Falsterbo Derby in Sweden on Saturday afternoon, with fellow-countryman Dermott Lennon claiming the runner-up spot.
It was a reverse of their quinella at the same show on Friday, when Lennon won the speed class.
On Saturday, Olympic bronze medalist O’Connor, piloting Adenda Spring’s mare Quidam’s Cherie, was one of only three riders to make it through to the jump-off from a starting field of 22, and delivered a convincing second round, coming home with one-and-a-half seconds in hand to take the €24,750 first prize and the Derby Trophy.
O’Connor is only the third Irish rider to win the Falsterbo Derby, with Lt. Col. Gerry Mullins and Capt. Shane Carey his predecessors.
In second place, Co. Down’s Dermott Lennon and Judith Sossick’s Irish Sport Horse mare Loughview Lou Lou also delivered a clear jump-off round to collect €15,000 in prize money. Lennon had a speed class win earlier in the week with Vampire.
Third was Britain’s William Funnell and the gelding Billy Onslow, almost four seconds off the pace of Lennon in the final round.
• In the US, Ireland’s Richie Moloney added a second win at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina, winning the $34,000 1.45m Speed Stake FEI on Alsvid. Moloney and Alsvid crossed the timers with a speedy clear round in 58.52 seconds. New Zealand’s Sharn Wordley and Popstar Lozonais were second in 64.83, with the USA’s Lauren Tisbo third on Shamira Semilly in 66.45.
Fellow Irish rider David Blake and Binkie also added to his haul at Tryon, taking out a €10,000 for a jump-off win.
Moloney and Alsvid have had a banner week at Tryon, winning both of their contested FEI classes so far at Tryon Summer 3. The experienced pair made easy work of the difficult Ana Catalina Harris (MEX) designed course, which only saw three double clear rounds out of 17 entries.
“When I was going into the ring, there was only one other clear round so I think if there had been more clear I would have even pushed it more and left out a few more strides, but I went as quick as I could while playing it a bit safe and it worked out in my favor,” Moloney said.
It marked the third FEI win for the Irish this week and when asked, Moloney said he hopes they can keep their consistency moving into the biggest class of the week, the $210,000 Asheville Regional Airport Grand Prix.
“This is very good for us and we’re having a great week. I’m hopeful that we’ll keep it up for the next two days. David and I both have pretty good records on Saturday nights so far and I’m expecting a great class tomorrow night,” he said.
Alsvid is a consistent and experienced mount for Moloney, proving himself time and time again on the international stage. Moloney explained on Wednesday after his win, that the 2001 Hanoverian gelding (Escudo I x Adonca) enjoys the faster speed classes and always performs well.
“He felt spot on today and he’s gone so well this week. He really felt like himself today and I think its great that he’s been able to come out twice and win both of his classes,” Moloney said. “We’ll do the 1.50m class on Sunday and then he’ll get some time off. He’s a great horse for me and I want to make sure that he gets a well deserved rest after this week.”
“I’m looking forward to the rest of the season, especially with him. I know I can always count on him to do his best and come through in the ring. With what we have on the schedule, he should be very competitive for the rest of the season. He’s a great ride and deserves these wins this week.”
• Three Irish riders finished in the top ten of the Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Portugal on Saturday bight, but the laurels went to third-placed Greg Broderick, who made his podium debut in the series with a third place on the Irish Sport Horse MHS Going Global.
A tough first two rounds saw only four combinations make it through to the final jump-off at Estoril, with the Tipperary rider doing battle with British world number one Scott Brash, as well as Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Al Sharbatly and Germany’s Christian Ahlmann.
Ahlmann had a single pole down in the jump-off, with Broderick maintaining a cool head aboard Caledonia Stables’s nine year-old Kilkenny-bred gelding to deliver a perfect clear round in his first appearance at a Global Champions Tour event, placing third on time behind Alsharbatly and winner Brash.
The Irish rider picked up a substantial €45,000 for his placing, while Brash collected €100,000 and Alsharbatly €60,000.
Wexford’s Bertram Allen finished in seventh place on Billy Twomey’s Romanov, after a single fence down in the first round, while Tipperary’s Denis Lynch finished in tenth with a second round mistake aboard Thomas Straumann’s All Star 5. Allen gained sufficient points at Estoril, however, to move him up to tenth place overall in the Global Champions Tour rankings.