Olympians and European Champions Entered for Horse Sport Ireland Premier Series

  • 17 July 2020, 14:55

Waterford’s Francis Connors and the Hugh Fitzpatrick-owned and bred Erne Ladygoldilocks were crowned 2019 TRM/Horse Sport Ireland New Heights Champions Series winners (Photo: Laurence Dunne/Jumpinaction.net)

Horse Sport Ireland is delighted to be the title sponsor of Show Jumping Ireland’s premier series, the highest level of National Show Jumping in Ireland, which kicks off on July 19th at Barnadown.

The Horse Sport Ireland Premier Series, which is the highest level of National Show Jumping in Ireland, kicks off on July 19th at Barnadown in Co Wexford. The first round will be followed by rounds at Mullingar (August 2nd) and National Balmoral (August 16th), with the final round taking place at Portmore Co Antrim (September 6th) where one athlete will be crowned National Champion for 2020.

With a total financial contribution from Horse Sport Ireland of €53,000 which includes a prize fund of €12,000 at each leg along with additional breeders’ prizes, young rider prizes and grooms’ prizes the first leg of the 2020 premier series has attracted some 52 entries and among them are some of Ireland’s elite equestrian athletes.


Cian O’Connor and PSG Final in action at the Barcelona Nations Cup final in 2019 (Photo: Sonya Hennessy)

Olympic bronze medallist and member of the Irish team who won the Nations Cup final in 2019, Cian O’Connor rides the Coolmore Showjumping-owned Houdini Van De Dijk, an eight-year-old gelding by Vigo D’Arsouilles. Formerly ridden by Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya, O’Connor and Houdini Van De Djik competed at five-star level earlier this year in Florida.

O’Connor recently moved his horses into a new equestrian facility based at his home just outside Dublin where he hopes to bring along the next generation of equestrian superstars on the Irish national circuit.

Fellow Irish Olympian and back-to-back winner of this series in 2017 and 2018, Greg Broderick has three entrants for the first leg of the series. Chief amongst Broderick’s string is the Mary Ellen De Ruschi-owned, Duco. The now 12-year-old gelding helped Broderick to win this series in 2018 and has competed successfully up to four-star level.


Reigning Junior European Champions Kate Derwin and AHG Whiterock Cruise Down will compete in the first leg of the Horse Sport Ireland Premier Series (Photo by: FEI / Leanjo de Koster)

Reigning Junior European Champion Kate Derwin has four entrants including the Francis Derwin-owned AHG Whiterock Cruise Down (ISH) whom she rode to individual gold and team bronze at the European Championships in 2019. In a recent interview with Horse Sport Ireland, Kate said: “The ambition is to go professional; I want to go and be the next Nicola Fitzgibbon on an Irish Aga Khan team or the next Pénélope Leprevost.”

Reigning U16 Jumping Champion, Max Wachman is the youngest competitor to take part in the series. At the 2019 FEI European Pony Championships in Strzegom, Poland, Wachman was the only rider to complete all five rounds, including a jump-off round in the team competition on a zero score, to help secure team gold as well as individual gold for Ireland. In the first round of the premier series Max will ride the Ronnoco Jump Ltd-owned Lazzaro Delle Schiave.

The Horse Sport Ireland Premier Series is an important part of the Irish National show jumping circuit and is vital for the development of both horses and riders. It’s fantastic to see Ireland’s elite athletes of all ages participating in what is sure to be a very exciting series.


Another one to watch is Susan Fitzpatrick. At just twenty years of age, Fitzpatrick took on some of the world’s best last year in the Longines Grand Prix of Ireland where she recorded a superb fourth place finish on Fellow Castlefield. Fitzpatrick was the first of seven combinations who would jump clear in the first round and went on to post the fastest time of the jump-off with just one fence down. Fitzpatrick is fresh from a win in the Grand Prix at Jag Equestrian last weekend with Verdict de Kezeg, whom she has entered in the first leg of the Premier Series.

A full list of Sundays entries for the Horse Sport Ireland Premier Series can be found on SJI Live

Many of Ireland’s top riders will also be in action with their young horses as the 2020 Irish Sport Horse Studbook Showjumping Series which takes place at the same venue. For more on the Irish Sport Horse Studbook Showjumping Series click here.

Horse Sport Ireland will continue to support the safe return to equestrian competition in Ireland and looks forward to seeing some of Ireland’s top show jumping athletes in action throughout both series and wishes all participants the very best of luck.