All to play for in Valkenswaard as finals approach

  • 30 September 2023, 09:55

Day 2 was a day of mixed fortunes for the Horse Sport Ireland Young Horse Jumping squad, which saw Commandant Geoff Curran take the win again in the first class of the day, the Eight-Year-Old qualifier with the mare DHF Alliance (ISH). The duo set off with intent in today’s one-round speed class and galloped home in a time of 66.82 seconds, over three seconds faster than today’s runner up Emil Hallundbaek and Calgraffi (DWB) for the Danish Warmblood Studbook. Paddy O’Donnell took sixth place with WEC Mermus Rua (ISH) when coming home clear in a time of 71.78 seconds. Two counting four fault scores in the class for Jonathan Gordon and CBI Karhari (ISH), and Joanne Blair with Tranquility Bay (ISH) who unfortunately had the very last down in a time of 78.58 seconds, meant the Irish Sport Horse Studbook finished the second qualifier in second place behind the KWPN. Heading into Saturday’s final, Chef d’Equipe Taylor Vard has opted to send the trio of Cmmdt. Geoff Curran, Jonathan Gordon and Paddy O’Donnell forward to contest the first final of this new show, with O’Donnell taking WEC Mermus Rua (ISH) as his ride for the class.

Cmmdt. Geoff Curran & DHF Alliance (ISH) during the prizegiving for Friday’s Eight-Year-Old Qualifier at the WBFSH Studbooks Jumping Global Champions Trophy in Valkenswaard. Photocredit: Stefano Grasso/LTIA

The Irish Sport Horse Studbook finished Day 1 sitting in pole position in the Five-Year-Old category, although that lead slipped after the second qualifier. Young riders Stephen Gibbons with Ceide Candy Heart (ISH), and Kian Dore with Cape Tribulation (ISH) picked up four faults as did Co. Waterford’s Paddy O’Donnell with Kilfarissey To Rome (ISH). Richard Kerins and Realteens Orestus (ISH) added another foot perfect score when coming home clear, meaning Taylor Vard’s team could drop the unfortunate elimination of Annie Courtney-Cadam and LCC Dunard Lady Dominator (ISH) at the last fence. A pulled shoe early in the course unsettling the mare. The three counting scores of four faults, and the clear from Co. Sligo’s Richard Kerins added 12 faults to Thursday’s single penalty, leaving the Irish Sport Horse team on a score of 13 faults and sitting in fifth overall heading into Sunday’s final. The final will see Stephen Gibbons, Kian Dore and Richard Kerins aim to bring home the gold medal in the Team Championship. The first of the two Seven-Year-Old qualifiers took place on Friday, where German-based Irish man Paraic Kenny and Benny’s Lass (ISH) jumped a foot perfect double clear round to secure third place in the class. Co. Antrim’s Joanne Blair had an unlucky eight faults with the gelding MCS Leisester (ISH) in the second phase of the class, owned by Co. Galway’s Bourns Sport Horses. British rider Alfie Bradstock, representing the Irish Sport Horse in Valkenswaard on Shannondale Anzac (ISH), had an uncharacteristic early fence down when coming home on a four fault score in the first phase. The rest of the Seven-Year-Old squad consisted of Co. Galway’s Michael Duffy, Team Silver Medallist at this year’s European Championships, stepping in to catch-ride two horses for the Irish Sport Horse team when Gemma Phelan was ruled out by injury and Sean Monaghan was unable to travel. Trotting in to the arena as number twenty-five to go, Duffy first rode Conor and Geraldine Drain’s home-bred Covehill Charlie (ISH) with injury also keeping Conor Drain out of the saddle himself. Duffy, having first ridden the horse only on Tuesday, was clear in the first phase but finished on an eventual 12 fault score against the clock. Last to go in the first qualifier, Duffy then tackled the course on Curraghgraigue Jack Bro (ISH), the usual ride of Co. Waterford’s Gemma Phelan for owner Baden Powell. Duffy had travelled to Lanaken to first try the horse ahead of the WBFSH Studbooks Jumping Global Champions Trophy. That turned out to be a worthwhile trip as the pair seemed like a combination that had years of experience together, and crossed the line double clear in a time of 33.29 seconds to finish eight overall. The result left the Irish Sport Horse team sitting in overall third place behind the Selle Francais and Anglo European Studbooks in first and second place respectively.

Paraic Kenny and Bennys Lass (ISH) – 3rd Place in the first 7-Year-Old qualifer at the WBFSH Studbooks Jumping Global Champions Trophy in Valkenswaard. Photocredit – Stephano Grosso/TLIA

Saturday sees the action kick off with the second of the Seven-Year-Old qualifiers in the morning, before the second Six-Year-Old qualifier and the Eight-Year-Old final in the afternoon. The 2023 Horse Sport Ireland Young Horse Squads are kindly supported by Bluegrass Horse Feed and Janni Bars.


Participation at the FEI WBFSH Studbooks Global Trophy for Young Horses in Valkenswaard is funded by the Department of Food, Agriculture and the Marine under National Breeding Services.


Breeding: 5 Year Olds: Realteens Orestus (ISH). 2018, Gelding by Orestus (KWPN) out of Realteen (ISH)[TIH], by Cruising (ISH)[TIH]. Bred and owned by Sean Keyes & Jennifer Crowley, Co. Roscommon. Ridden by Richard Kerins (IRL). Ceide Candy Heart (ISH). 2018, Gelding by Garryduff Jar Of Hearts (ISH) out of Ceide Heather Honey (ISH), by Sligo Candy Boy (ISH). Bred by Mary Walsh, Co. Mayo. Owned by Mary Gibbons. Ridden by Stephen Gibbons (IRL). Cape Tribulation (ISH) 2018, Gelding by Womaniser (KWPN) out of Creevy Quinn Lass (ISH)[TIH], by Cruising (ISH)[TIH] Bred by Peter Killeen, Co. Roscommon. Owned by Edel Dore. Ridden by Kian Dore (IRL). KIlfarrisey To Rome (ISH). 2018, Mare by Romanov II (KWPN) out of Shannondale Tia (ISH), by Shannondale Sarco (BWP). Bred by Shannondale Stud, Co. Clare. Owned by Kate O’Sullivan. Ridden by Paddy O’Donnell (IRL). LCC Dunard Lady Dominator (ISH). 2018, Mare by Dominator 2000 Z (Zang) out of Lady Amaretto (ISH), by Captain Clover (ISH)[TIH]. Bred by Cathy Cuffe, Co. Westmeath. Owned by Linda Courtney. Ridden by Annie Courtney-Cadam (IRL).   7-Year-Olds: Benny’s Lass (ISH). 2016, Mare by Tullibards Benny’s Legacy (OLD) out of Patrick’s Polly (ISH)[TIH], by Nad Elshiba (TB). Bred by Tom Hutchinson, Co. Laois. Owned by Paraic Kenny. Ridden by Paraic Kenny (IRL). Curraghgraigue Jack Bro (ISH). 2016, Gelding by Orestus (KWPN) out of Curraghgraigue Errigal (ISH)[TIH], by Errigal Flight (ISH)[TIH]. Bred and owned by Baden Powell, Co. Tipperary. Ridden by Michael Duffy (IRL). MCS Leisester (ISH) Gelding by Dallas VDL (BWP) out of Rose Of Lennon (ISH), by Zuidam (KWPN). Bred by Clare Sloan, Co. Antrim. Owned by Richard Bourns. Ridden by Joanne Blair (IRL). Covehill Charlie (ISH) 2016, Gelding by Emerald Van’t Ruytershof (BWP) out of Fine Filly (AES), by J.R (AES). Bred and owned by Geraldine Drain, Co. Antrim. Ridden by Michael Duffy (IRL). Shannondale Anzac (ISH) 2016, Gelding by Shannondale Sarco (BWP) out of Shannondale Maria (ISH), by Lux Z (Hann). Bred by Martin Walsh, Co. Clare. Owned by Mimi Falb. Ridden by Alfie Bradstock (GBR). Eight-Year-Olds: DHF Alliance (ISH) 2015, Mare by ARD VDL Douglas (KWPN) out of Rosie Bee (ISH), by Lux Z (Hann). Bred by Paul Douglas, Co. Tyrone. Owned by Jessica Stallard & Minister for Defence. Ridden by Cmmdt. Geoff Curran (IRL). CBI Karhari (ISH). 2015, Stallion by Goodluck VDL (KWPN) out of CSF Karina (ISH), by Kroongraaf (KWPN) Bred by Aidan Carroll, Co. Offaly. Owned by Denis Gallagher. Ridden by Jonathan Gordon (IRL). WEC Mermus Rua (ISH). 2015, Gelding by Mermus R (KWPN) out of DRS Chattanooga (ISH)[TIH], by Abalou Verte (KWPN). Bred by Ray Brown, Co. Westmeath. Owned by Patrick Peare. Ridden by Paddy O’Donnell (IRL). Tranquility Bay (ISH). 2015, Gelding by Emerald Van’t Ruytershof (BWP) out of Tullibards Lux Sensational (ISH), by Lux Z (Hann). Bred by John Mulvey, Co. Wicklow. Owned by Richard Bourns. Ridden by Joanne Blair (IRL). Kilcorig Elyshium (ISH). 2015, Gelding by Cornet Obolensky (BWP) out of Kilcorig Belle (ISH), by Camiro De Haar Z (Zang). Bred by Nigel Jackson, Co. Antrim. Owned by Alberta Capital Limited. Ridden by Paddy O’Donnell (IRL).