Howley reigns in Spain with top treble

  • 7 April 2024, 16:51

Richard Howley and Mansini Ltd (Sportfot)

Swail and Chawke dominate in Blenheim

It was an outstanding week for Richard Howley at the Mediterranean Tour show in Oliva, Spain after claiming three two-star winning ribbons on consecutive days.

Howley’s reign in Spain began on Thursday, taking top spot on the podium courtesy of Pandito Van’T Merelsnest Z and he followed up on Friday with a well-judged ride on the 15-year-old gelding Mansini Ltd.

Then on Friday, he maintained his dominance as Mansini Ltd led home an Irish 1-2 in another 1.45m class.

In all there were four Irish riders in the top six, as Alexander Butler and Jurry Bleu K chased home Howley in second, with Clem McMahon and Grand Prix DK in fourth and Trevor Breen and Highland President in sixth.

Of the 37 that registered for action, 15 jumped clear but what was so impressive about Howley’s clear and winning time of 36.68 in the jump-off was that it was posted while acting as pathfinder for his 14 rivals.

One by one the opposition sought to overtake him but try as they might, they couldn’t. Butler came closest, but the clock stopped at 37.12 for the Cortown man.

Conor Swail and James Chawke made hay throughout the Blenheim show in America, with Chawke leading home Swail in an Irish 1-2-3 in the 1.45m two-star Grand Prix on Saturday the highlight.

Chawke and his ten-year-old mare Daido Van ‘T Ruytershof Z had to do it the hard way, after knocking a pole in the first round.

That meant they needed to be lightning quick to have any chance but the Abbeyleix native and his talented bay were just that, going clear in a scarcely believable 40.85 seconds to nab the €8,000 first prize as well as the resultant Longines and Rolex rankings points.

In doing so, they vaulted over a number of combinations, most notably those of Swail, the Down man taking the next two positions on the podium courtesy of Theo 160 and Vital Chance De La Roque.

Mark Kinsella and Marquis Le Beau Courally placed sixth.

It was a measure of revenge for Chawke over Swail, as the veteran had gotten the better of their duel in another two-star 1.45m class on Friday.

On that occasion, Chawke was 19 of 28 combinations to enter the arena on Daido Van ‘T Ruytershof Z and they set a very competitive looking time of 58.98.

Yet it didn’t survive beyond the next pair into the ring, Swail and Vital Chance De La Roque clocking 58.68, which was sufficient to take the spoils. Chawke did grab further prize money by finishing fifth on Isa.

It has been a fruitful week for Swail and Vital Chance De La Roque, as they had claimed fifth in the two-star 1.40m Power & Speed two-phase class won by Zoe Brown (NZL) and Bling VD Duvelshoeve Z on Thursday.

At Cluny in France, Mark McAuley registered a runner-up spot in the two-star 1.45m class on Friday in the Piste de l’Abbaye arena. Propelling the 12-year-old O’Hara Els, the Dubliner jumped clear in 75.62 seconds, which was enough to see off 62 combinations.

Unfortunately, Lucas Fournier (FRA) and Cyranan Z rocketed to a stunning clear round in 71.49 to take the victory.

On Thursday, Tipperary’s Shane Breen got the second week of the Toscana Tour off to a strong start at Arezzo when claiming third in the four-star Grand Prix qualifier.

Sophie Hinners (GER) was victorious, scooting around in 25.42 seconds in the second phase on Special Life, having made sure of progressing through the first phase steadily.

Breen and 16-year-old gelding Z7 Ipswich were flawless, taking the lead with a fast second-phase time of 26.62 and it was only in the closing stretch that Hinners bested him.

Italian Francesco Tuturiello and Cornetto 60 bumped him one position further down but it was a strong showing by Breen and his long-time partner.

Fellow Tipp man, Thomas Ryan and nine-year-old bay stallion Jezebeau BC took sixth in a two-phase class that same evening.

After manoeuvring through the initial phase without a blemish, the duo increased the revs for the second phase, leaving every pole up and recording a time of 27.58 seconds.

The competition was won by Poland’s Adam Grzegorzewski and Valanna.


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