Five Grand Prix wins and a Nations Cup victory across fantastic weekend for Irish Show Jumping

  • 23 January 2022, 18:02

A stunning run of results for Irish horses and riders on the international stage this weekend has seen no less than five international Grand Prix wins and a memorable Nations Cup victory for Ireland across Europe and the Middle East.

Youngest team member, 20-year-old Jack Ryan, helped Team Ireland to victory in the first leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2022 series at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates today when producing two brilliant clear rounds with his home-bred Irish Sport Horse BBS McGregor. (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

It was a clean sweep for Ireland at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates where two Grand Prix wins for Tipperary brothers Shane and Trevor Breen were already in the bag before a fantastic Longines FEI Nations Cup win for Michael Blake’s team that also included David Simpson and Jack Ryan.

Irish team manager Michael Blake this week signed a new contract with Horse Sport Ireland through the Olympic cycle to 2024 and after a tough battle in Abu Dhabi, he was delighted to guide his team to victory.

“The UAE really kept the pressure on us. I wouldn’t have dreamt this morning that it would take six clear rounds to win it!”, Blake commented.

“We competed here four times and had three second-place finishes, but I felt this competition was ours to lose today and that we were the best team here, although I didn’t see the UAE coming as strong as they did – it just shows how Show Jumping is developing in this region,” Blake added.

Speaking about Jack Ryan who was competing in only his second senior Nations Cupm Michael Blake said:

“He was on the winning team in Vilamoura (POR) last year so he’s now made it two wins out of two – that’s impressive!”, Blake said. He’s had a long association with the young man who hails from Inistioge in County Kilkenny, Ireland. “I was at my first Championship with Jack when he was just 11 years old competing in Children on Horses, and it’s extra special that he is riding a home-bred horse here today”, Blake pointed out.

BBS McGregor, bred in Kilkenny by Jack Ryan’s mum Marguerite, is a horse with a story, having recovered from a serious injury early in his life.

“We bred him ourselves and as a yearling he got very sick because we think he was kicked in the head by another horse when out in the field. He fell apart physically and we couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him – he was just fading away. But he had a lump on his nose and when it was x-rayed it seems that a tooth went up through the roof of his mouth when he was kicked and he couldn’t eat because of the pain. He’s so much better now and it’s great to see him doing so well and enjoying himself in the ring”, Ryan explained.

Back in Europe, Co Louth’s Mark McAuley came out on top in the three-star 1m50 Grand Prix at Oliva in Spain with the 9-year-old stallion Django Ste Hermelle.

Mark McAuley and Django Ste Hermelle (Photo: Hervé Bonnaud/

“I am over the moon with the horse, he is very talented,” McAuley said about his winning ride. “I have had him for about a year now. When I bought him, I thought this is what he is going to be and today he proved that to me, so I am really happy.”

At Vejer De La Frontera in Spain, Sligo’s Richard Howley took victory in the two-star Grand Prix with the Elizabeth Jackson-owned Highcross Violet after a 9-horse jump-off. Tipperary’s Denis Lynch added to the Irish winning streak when he claimed the top prize in the two-star Grand Prix at Peelbergen in The Netherlands with Cornet’s Iberio.

Across the Atlantic, their was also a win for Ireland’s Tom Wachman (pictured) and Coolmore Show Jumping’s 12-year-old gelding HH Fireball who beat off a 67-horse starting field to take victory in Saturday’s $10,000 FEI Hermès Under 25 Welcome Stake at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, USA.

BBS McGregor (ISH) – 2012 Gelding by Cardento (HOLST) out of Random Chance (ISH) by Mark Twain (TB) bred and owned by Marguerite Ryan (Co Kilkenny) ridden by Jack Ryan.

The Irish Show Jumping team is sponsored by Devenish and The Underwriting Exchange.
Equiline – Official athlete clothing supplier of Horse Sport Ireland

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