Exciting New Additions to the Cathal Daniels Team

  • 20 April 2020, 18:21

Cathal Daniels and the Dr Sarah Hughes-owned Shannondale Percy enjoying the sun at Barroca D’Alva earlier this year where they jumped double clear in both the 3*S and 4*S (Photo: Irish Eventing Times)

Cathal Daniels, member of Horse Sport Ireland’s high-performance eventing squad, is using this time to get to know some exciting new additions to his quality string of horses whilst working hard to keep his well-known horses in top form

Following a very exciting yard move to Tully East which is situated on the Curragh. Team CDS now has a training facility that many of us could only ever dream of. Complete with gallops, schooling strip, covered lunge pen, outdoor arena, water treadmill, vita floor and solarium – it’s safe to say that the horses who call Tully East home are very lucky.

“Dr Sarah Hughes is a great supporter of CDS,” Cathal begins. “I now have a number of Sarah’s horses based with me, ranging from young stock to 4* horses. Sarah resides in the USA so it’s a real privilege to have her stable stars based with me in Ireland and I am very excited to have Barrichello and My Lucky Day joining the team.”

Barrichello is an 11-year-old gelding by Balou Du Rouet and was part of the British Nations Cup team that finished second at the FEI Nations Cup in Milstreet in 2018. Under Alexander Bragg, Barichello consistently scored top-15 individual finishes at 3* level and will no doubt be a fantastic addition to team CDS. My Lucky Day, also an 11-year-old, is a full thoroughbred horse by Matty G who competed at 3* level last season. A number of Dr Sarah Hughes’ promising younger horses including Hamilton, Java and Rally will also be under the tutelage of Cathal and we look forward to seeing him out campaigning these horses in the near future.


Cathal Daniels and the Dr Sarah Hughes-owned Shannondale Percy in action earlier this year at Barroca D’Alva (Photo: Irish Eventing Times)

One of Dr Sarah Hughes’ stable stars, Shannondale Percy (ISH) is preparing to move up a level this year and Cathal thinks very highly of him: “Shannondale Percy (ISH) bred by Martin Walsh here in Ireland is a very well-known horse, ridden previously by William Fox-Pitt and Alexander Bragg. We just recently returned from Barroca D’Alva in Portugal where he jumped double clear in both the 3*S and 4*S. I really feel that we are getting to know one another and I am looking forward to moving up the levels in the season ahead with this very special horse.

Shannondale Mari (ISH) is a full sister to Shannondale Percy (ISH) and was also bred by Martin Walsh

“Shannondale Mari (ISH) is a full sister to Shannondale Percy (ISH) and was also bred by Martin Walsh and was previously ridden by Alexander Bragg and more recently Elisabeth Power who, had a very successful result for Ireland in Le Lion finishing 8th. We made our partnership debut at Barroca winning the 2*S. I’m sure that will be the first of many international wins for Shannondale Mari (ISH), she also went on to finish 7th in the 2*L.  She is a very talented young mare with a big heart and a very bright future.

“Alcatraz has been a super addition to the stable. We had a brilliant winter campaign with him, winning at Stuttgart and Geneva Horse Show in Switzerland. He’s a competitive, clever horse that really rises to the occasion. Those indoor competitions are very niche, and his talent really shows through in that kind of atmosphere and pressure.


LEB Lias Jewel (ISH) helped Cathal to claim back-to-back wins last year in the U25 3* at Tattersalls International Horse Trials and the CCI 4*S at Kilguilkey. “LEB Lias Jewel is another very special story, her owner Jo Breheny bred her from a mare called LEB Liath which her daughter Laura used to ride. LEB Lias Jewel (ISH) is 10 now, I started off with her in 2018 at 2* level and she has been very competitive.

“Last year we had back to back wins, starting with the U25 3* at Tattersalls International Horse Trials and then in the CCI 4*S at Kilguilkey. Kilguilkey would have been her first attempt at a 4* and to win on her first outing shows a lot of promise. We finished last season with an eighth-place finish at Bleinheim in the 4* long. So, I am really looking forward getting back out with this horse, when it is safe to do so.


Cathal Daniels and Rioghan Rua storm around the cross country at the 2018 World Equestrian Games to help Team Ireland claim silver. (Photo: Alison Green for Shannon Brinkman)

Rioghan Rua (ISH) of course needs no introduction, she has been referred to as the ‘Red Queen’ and who would dispute it – the 15.2hh, 13-year-old, chestnut, Irish Sport Horse mare (Highland Destiny x Jack of Diamonds) owned and bred by Margaret and Frank Kinsella has spent her entire FEI career with Cathal and was crowned Equiratings Horse of the Year in 2019.

I just feel very privileged to have the opportunity to ride such a special horse

“It’s been a very special journey. She has been my main championship horse from juniors to young riders and then on to seniors and hopefully the Olympics. It’s quite amazing what Rua has achieved and I just feel very privileged to have the opportunity to ride such a special horse. After winning bronze at the Europeans, Rua had a well-deserved break and she has come back really well – whenever we get the go ahead, she will be ready.

“Mags and Frank have another horse with me, Sammy Davis Junior (ISH) – another very special horse. So, it just goes without saying I am very thankful to them for their continued support”.


“It’s exciting to have such a strong team of horses, but equally as important are the people who look after them, Karen Chapman manages all the entries and logistics and I work with an excellent group of riders, grooms and sponsors. Without them, running a professional eventing yard would be almost impossible.

“I’m very fortunate to have some fantastic sponsors supporting me including Irish Companies like GAIN equine nutrition, Plus Vital, Botanica, Clippers Ireland and Tredstep Ireland as well as top-class international companies Hive Insurance, Amerigo, Veredus and Flex-on. They all play a huge part in how we care for the horses – from feeding to grooming to tack.

“It’s also been very educational for me working with sponsors and suppliers, their knowledge of horse and rider health and performance is exceptional. They see the little things that can be improved to give even the smallest advantage and as athletes we really need their input and advice as it could make all the difference and really give our team an edge.”


The success Cathal has amassed at such a young age is unbelievable, but as Cathal says: “Funny enough, I always believed it was possible!” No doubt, Cathal had help along the way: “In the early days I was very hungry for the sport and success – I rode a lot of different horses to build up experience. People must have seen some talent in me, and they put a lot of faith in me and that was really where the business started to grow. I relied on my contacts and through the success I had, I built up more. They trusted me and gave me the time to see where things could go and that’s how a lot of partnerships start out.”

The moral of the story – If you can dream it, you can do it.


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