Here’s Lucy: Latta joins Irish eventing elite with Badminton runner-up finish

  • 12 May 2024, 19:02

Lucy Latta with RCA Patron Saint (Irish Eventing Times)

Olympics now the dream for part-time athlete

Lucy Latta has achieved one of the greatest results in the history of Irish eventing, after posting a runner-up finish at the prestigious Mars Badminton Horse Trials today.
Eight faults on RCA Patron Saint in today’s jumping phase enabled the Wexford native to rise to second from an overnight position of third in the 75th edition of the competition and on a remarkable day for Irish equestrian sport, the first and third horses were bred on these shores.
51-year-old New Zealand rider Caroline Powell and the Irish Sport Horse Greenacres Special Cavalier, bred in Meath by Michael Callery, overtook Latta with a clear round to claim the coveted spoils with a total penalty count of 43.2. Alexander Bragg’s third-placed Quindiva (OLD), also Irish bred, by Kingsborough Horses’ Cliodhna Carroll and David Gray in Sligo.
Latta was agonisingly close to ending the 59-year wait for an Irish victory, from Major Eddie Boylan’s triumph on Durlas Eile in 1965. The 27-year-old recorded a tally of 45.2 penalties but it was a remarkable result nonetheless, Ireland’s best since Boylan prevailed.
Not alone was this Latta’s first time participating in one of the jewels of the global eventing calendar, this was her first ever five-star competition.
Astoundingly, she is a part-time athlete with a full-time job as a brand manager of a drinks company and RCA Patron Saint, who goes by the name of Paddy when not on the day job, is the only horse Latta rides.
Latta is bred in the purple however, as a granddaughter of William Powell Harris, who competed at Badminton and was a reserve for the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Her first cousin, Esib Power is a renowned international eventer who has competed at Badminton on four occasions, while Esib’s brother Robbie was a Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National winning jockey.
Robbie Power is primarily associated with legendary racehorse trainer Jessica Harrington, who is among an elite group of Irish eventers Latta joins. When Austin O’Connor finished third 12 months ago, he was the first athlete from these shores since Harrington in 1983 to podium at Badminton.
Few would have chosen Latta from the Irish representation to join the group at the start of the week but she and the outstanding 13-year-old gelding owned by Leslie Crampton relished the conditions to take the eventing world by storm.
The pair were down in 46th position at the end of the opening dressage phase, when they registered a tally of 36.8 penalties, but rocketed up to third with the best cross-country round, of just 0.4 of a time fault.

Lucy Latta receiving her trophy from HM The Queen at Badminton Horse Trials (Irish Eventing Times)

And that effort proved crucial a second time when British rider Bragg and  Quindiva drew level with a clear round today but the faster time in the country gave Latta the runner-up spot.
“What a week,” said Latta, still trying to take it all in. “I’d have bitten your hand off if you told me this would have happened at the start of the week.
“It was total rider error at fence three so I’m kicking myself about that. I sat up when I should not have, but that’s for me to learn from my mistake, and I won’t do that the next time.
“I couldn’t have asked for any more from him. He’s the best cross-country horse there is, and I had a good round (today). He really jumped for me, considering that was his first time over 11min 19 (the cross-country course length) and how big the fences were yesterday.”
Now she is thinking of Paris.
“I can dream about the Olympics, I would love to think I could go,” she said. “My horse was phenomenal this week, and there’s still loads to improve on with him, in the dressage, and things to clean up in the show jumping.”

Greenacres Special Cavalier (ISH) – 2013 mare by Cavalier Royale (HOLST) out of Greenacres Touch (ISH) by Touchdown (ISH). Breeder: Michael Callery. Owner: Michelle Mann. Rider: Caroline Powell (NZL)

Quindiva (OLD) – 2010 mare by Quintender 2 (HOLST) out of Ruby Roller (ISH) by High Roller(ISH). Breeder: Cliodhna Carroll/David Gray of Kingston Sport Horses, Co. Sligo. Owner: Michelle Mann. Rider: Alexander Bragg (GBR)