Duffy breaks new ground with Longines GCT Grand Prix success

  • 7 April 2024, 10:47

Michael Duffy on podium after winning the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix at Miami Beach (Sportfot)

Galwegian pays tribute to late friend after securing notable double

Galway native, Michael Duffy registered a signature victory on a weekend he will never forget, when beating a stacked field of global superstars in Saturday’s Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix at Miami Beach.

Duffy and Claptonn Mouche recorded the only double clear to bag the €115,500 first prize, just a day after the partnership had also gone around the famed arena without a blemish to help Rome Gladiators win the Global Champions League class.

The Irish success didn’t finish there though as Carlow breeder Pam Walsh was celebrating the performance of her graduate, the Irish Sport Horse EIC Cooley Jump The Q, who finished runner-up for Germany’s Max Kühner.

The Turloughmore man now moves to fourth place in the overall standings after two legs thanks to the 40 points accumulated for taking the top spot on the podium.

Spanish rider, Eduardo Alvarez Aznar is the current overall leader, thanks to his fourth-place finish on Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot.

There were two other Irish riders in the top ten, as Corkman Shane Sweetnam had one pole down on Rr Combella in the jump-off to take seventh, one spot ahead of Castledermot native Michael Pender, who had eight faults on HHS Calais.

But it was Duffy who was the toast of Miami Beach on what has been a stellar few days for Irish show jumping, bagging his first ever five-star Grand Prix. It is a triumph that earns him a coveted golden ticket to the end-of-season Super Grand Prix in Riyadh.

Remarkably, he has only been riding Claptonn Mouche, the 12-year-old gelding he co-owns with Stephex Stables a matter of months but the connection has been instant.

Duffy kept his cool as he focussed on getting around the jump-off without any errors and his partner answered every call on a famous Floridian night.

“It’s been a while coming. It’s about time. It’s amazing. I’m a bit lost for words,” said the emotional 30-year-old.

“There wasn’t too much thought went into it only keeping between the posts and hare at it. It’s tough jumping here. It’s so delicate. I wanted to be as quick as I can but leave the jumps up.

“It’s a lucky hunting ground (for me). We won the team yesterday and I won the team here a few years ago. It’s a great show.”

Even as he attempted to take in the enormity of the achievement, Duffy’s thoughts were for his good friend Jack Dodd, who passed away recent..

“I want to thank Helena and Tim Stormanns have helped me immensely, Stephex that own (Claptonn Mouche). I have some great owners. Courtney and Sloane Hopson. Monica McCourt. My parents, Paul and Catherine, they reared me so they deserve a good bit of it too!

“My best friend Jack Dodd died in a car crash a few years ago and I’d still be very close to his parents Trish and David and I always said when I won my first Grand Prix I would dedicate it to them.”


EIC Cooley Jump The Q (ISH) – 2013 gelding by Pacino (BWP) out of Jump The Q (ISH) by Obos Quality 004 (OLDBG), bred by Pam Walsh, Co Carlow. Owner: Max Kühner, Remo Baleri. Rider: Max Kühner (GER).