Clark claims historic Eventing win for Ireland at Blenheim Palace
- 15 September 2013, 10:53
IRELAND’S Aoife Clark just had to go clear today (Sunday) in the final phase of the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials to win her first Three Star event, after taking the lead in Saturday’s cross-country phase.
With not even a fence in hand when entering today’s show jumping phase, the 32 year-old nevertheless held her nerve, and guided PJ Hegarty’s Irish Sport Horse Fenya’s Elegance to a zero penalty round, clinching one of Ireland’s first victories in many years at this level of international three-day eventing.
Clark, who finished seventh at the London Olympics last year, produced a dazzling display of cross-country riding on Saturday to edge into the lead, but had France’s former world champion Jean Teulere and American top eventer Clark Montgomery both just 1.5 penalty points behind her today.
“I knew I had to go clear,” Clark said. “We’ve only had one showjumping rail down all year, but there was still pressure.
“To win here means a huge amount. This mare is just at the right stage to be looking at the (2014) World Equestrian Games and then Rio.”
Clark’s victory ended an exceptional day for Irish Eventing, with the Junior team winning Gold at the European Eventing Championships in Jardy, France and the Irish Young Rider team claiming Bronze.
After today’s exceptional performances, the Irish Eventing High
Performance Manager Nick Turner said: “”I am absolutely delighted with
the Irish eventing successes this weekend. Team Gold and individual
Silver from the Juniors, Team Bronze from the Young Riders and a win for
Aoife Clark with PJ Hegartys’ Fenya’s Elegance at the Blenhein CCI3*
made this a very exciting weekend.
“Congratulations to everyone involved and thanks to all of the owners,
sponsors, support staff and team managers for all of their hard work and
dedication that helped to make this possible.
“The young horses in the 8/9 year old classes also put in some very good
performances which makes the future of Irish Eventing very exciting.”
Breeding details: Fenyas Elegance (ISH) – 2004 chestnut mare by Ricardo Z (ZANG) out of Fenya (ISH), by Good Thyne (USA) (TB). Bred/owned by PJ Hegarty, Co. Cork.