Ireland’s Jonty Evans and Cooley Rorkes Drift (ISH) in fourth place at world famous Badminton Horse Trials

  • 4 May 2018, 17:44

A breathtaking performance in the Dressage arena has left Irish Olympian Jonty Evans and The Irish Sport Horse Cooley Rorkes Drift in fourth place at Badminton Horse Trials in the UK following the opening Dressage phase.

Jonty Evans and The Irish Sport Horse Cooley Rorkes Drift following their brilliant Dressage test at Badminton

Evans posted the best Dressage score (24.1 pens) ever recorded by an Irish rider at four-star level – which is the highest level of International Eventing.

“I was delighted with him, he did exactly what I asked him to do. He is very talented, has a fabulous brain and I love him to bits.” Evans commented about Cooley Rorkes Drift afterwards.

When asked what makes Badminton so special he added:
“There is so much history and tradition behind it – a bit like Burghley. Badminton was the first of the major events – the first of its kind and in order to get here you have to put a huge amount of work in and that’s why it means so much to riders. Everyone from all over the world has heard of Badminton and it means a huge amount.”

Padraig McCarthy and Mr Chunky are next best of the Irish in equal 25th with a score of 28.9, while Clare Abbott and Euro Prince (ISH) are also inside the top 30 with a score of 29.8.

It has been an incredible Badminton so far for Irish breeding with Irish Sport Horses currently filling 8 of the top 10 places on the leaderboard including Ballaghmor Class (ISH) and Oliver Townend (GBR) who lead with a score of 20.8.

Just 10 penalties separate the top 30 and with Badminton’s famous Cross Country course to come on Saturday, followed by the final Show Jumping phase on Sunday, the competition is still wide open.

Jonty Evans gave his thoughts on Saturday’s Cross Country course:

“I think its a great course, it is going to keep you thinking. You have got to know where to make your gear changes, know where you are going to think about the fences and have a good ride I hope.”

A massive fundraising effort in 2017 saw Jonty Evans retain the ride on Cooley Rorkes Drift after the horse was put up for sale by its owners. Jonty Evans and Cooley Rorkes Drift were Ireland’s highest-placed finishers in the Eventing competition at the Rio Olympics, taking ninth place overall.

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