Irish-bred Sport Horses Dominate at Home and Abroad

  • 26 April 2021, 16:39

Despite the ongoing disruption to the national and international eventing calendars, Irish horses have shown their class at every opportunity, most recently at Land Rover Kentucky’s three-day event and at Ireland’s first home international of the year, Ballindenisk.

The 2021 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event was held from the 22nd to 25th of April and just under 20% of the starters were Irish-bred sport horses. All eyes were on Oliver Townend’s (GBR) dream team – Cooley Master Class (ISH) bred by John Hagan in Co. Wicklow and Ballaghmor Class (ISH) bred by Noel Hickey in Co. Limerick.

Cooley Master Class (ISH) came as a two-time defending champion, having won the feature event in 2018 and 2019. In 2019, the 12-year-old gelding, by Ramiro B (BWP) out of The Swallow (ISH) by Master Imp (TB), made history in winning the first ever CCI5*-L title at the event. His stablemate, Ballaghmor Class (ISH), a 2007 gelding by Courage II (HOLST) out of Kilderry Place (ISH), finished joint top of the British Eventing horse rankings at the end of the 2019 season, having been inducted into the Eventing Riders Association (ERA) International Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials Hall of Fame.

Ahead of the final Show Jumping phase, both horses sat inside the top 10 on the leader board, Ballaghmor Class (ISH) in first and Cooley Master Class (ISH) in eighth. Three other Irish Sport Horses were also in contention, lying inside the top 20 after Cross Country:

  • The Jonelle Price-ridden (NZ) Grovine De Reve (ISH), a 2008 gelding by Hermes De Reve (SF) out of Erkina Jane (ISH)[TIH] by Rimilis (TB), bred by Paddy and Maria Raggett from Co. Kilkenny was in sixth place.
  • Bango (ISH) (AKA Bango Royale), a 2006 gelding by Garrison Royal (ISH) out of No Sale (ISH)[TIH] by Don Tristan (TB), bred by James Foley from Co. Wexford and ridden by Tim Price (NZL) lay in 9th.
  • Off The Record (ISH), a 2009 gelding by VDL Arkansas (KWPN) out of Drumagoland Bay (ISH) by Ard Ohio (KWPN), bred by Peter Brady from Co. Cavan and ridden by Will Coleman (USA) was in 19th place.

Sadly, the ever-consistent Cooley Master Class (ISH) picked up a minor injury during the cross-country which prevented him from completing the final phase but the deserved winner was Ballaghmor Class (ISH) who produced a perfect clear Show Jumping round to complete on a score of 27.3. Grovine De Reve (ISH) gained three places after a fantastic Show Jumping round to gain another podium placing for an Irish Sport Horse when finishing third.

Ballaghmor Class and Oliver Townend at the prize-giving at LRK3DE. (Credit:

On home soil, Irish Sport Horses won five of the six classes at the first home international of the year – Ballindenisk International. Ireland’s Michael McNally won the feature class, the NutriScience CCI4*-L, with his own Eclipto – a 2011 Irish Sport Horse by Cavalier Carnival (ISH) out of Tawna Jane (ISH), bred by Jackson Goulding from Co. Meath. Fred Scala (IRL) and Everon Vivendi (ISH), bred by B & G Campbell, finished as runners-up and Steven Smith (IRL) and Galwaybay Echo (ISH), bred by Justin Burke, finished third.

Michael McNally and Eclipto – Ballindenisk International April 2021
Nutriscience CCI4*-L. (Credit: Irish Eventing Times).

The CCI4*-S competition saw three of Ireland’s silver medal-winning team from the 2018 World Equestrian Games finish in the top three places while Irish Sport Horses filled the top two spots. Sarah Ennis and her World Equestrian Games partner Horseware Stellor Rebound (ISH) showed they are a force to be reckoned with, leading from the outset to take the win. The 17-year-old gelding by VDL Ricochet (KWPN) finished on a winning score of 24.2 while Sam Watson and Tullabeg Flamenco (ISH), bred by Nicholas Cousins, finished as runners-up on a score of 27.0 after a perfect clear final round. Tipperary’s Padraig McCarthy took third place with Leonidas II on a score of 29.6.

Sarah Ennis and Horseware Stellor Rebound – Ballindenisk CCI4*-S (Credit: Irish Eventing Times).

Clare Abbott (IRL) and Mr Mighty (ISH) bred by Cormac McKay won the CCI2*-L, Elizabeth Power (IRL) and Greenfort Gorgeous George (ISH)[TIH] bred by George Masterson in Co. Wexford won the Pegus Horse Feeds CCI3*-S and New Zealand’s Amanda Goldsbury riding Cavalletti Clover (ISH) bred by Gavin McGuigan won the CCI2*-S.

Breeding details:

Ballaghmor Class (ISH) – 2007 gelding Courage II (HOLST) out of Kilderry Place (ISH). Breeder: Noel Hickey, Co. Limerick. Owner: Karyn Shuter, Angela Hislop and Val Ryan. Rider: Oliver Townend (GBR).

Cooley Master Class (ISH) – 2005 gelding by Ramiro B (BWP) out of The Swallow [ISH] by Master Imp (TB). Breeder: John Hagan, Co. Wicklow. Owner: Angela Hislop. Rider: Oliver Townend (GBR).

Grovine De Reve (ISH) – 2008 gelding by Hermes De Reve (SF) out of Erkina Jane (ISH)[TIH] by Rimilis (TB). Breeder: Paddy & Maria Raggett, Co. Kilkenny. Owner: Therese Miller and Jonelle Price. Rider: Jonelle Price (NZL).

Bango (ISH) (AKA Bango Royale) – 2006 gelding by Garrison Royal (ISH) out of No Sale (ISH)[TIH] by Don Tristan (TB). Breeder: James Foley, Co. Wexford. Owner: Numero Uni Syndicate. Rider: Tim Price (NZL).

Off The Record (ISH) – 2009 gelding by VDL Arkansas (KWPN) out of Drumagoland Bay (ISH) by Ard Ohio (KWPN). Breeder: Peter G. Brady, Co. Cavan. Owner: Off The Record Syndicate. Rider: Will Coleman (USA).

Eclipto (ISH) – 2011 gelding by Cavalier Carnival (ISH) out of Tawna Jane (ISH)[TIH] by Puissance (ISH)[TIH]. Breeder: Jackson Gouling (Tipperary). Rider: Michael McNally (IRL).

Everon Vivendi (AKA Corriebeg Vivendi) (ISH) – 2009 gelding by ARS Vivendi (HOLST) out of Ordell (ISH) by Touchdown (ISH). Bred by: B & G Campbell (Armagh). Rider: Fred Scala (IRL).

Galwaybay Echo (ISH) – 2008 bay gelding by Clover Echo (ISH) out of Misty’s Cavalier (ISH) by Cavalier Royale (HOLST). Breeder: Justin Burke (Galway). Rider: Steven Smith (IRL).

Horseware Stellor Rebound (ISH) – 2004 gelding by VDL Ricochet (KWPN). Rider: Sarah Ennis (IRL).

Tullabeg Flamenco (ISH)– 2009 gelding by Tullabeg Fusion (ISH) out of Tullabeg Heidi (unk) by Ardenteggle Sir (IPSA). Breeder: Nicholas Cousins (Wexford). Rider: Sam Watson (IRL).

Mr Mighty (unk) – 2014 gelding by Gatcombe (ISH). Breeder: Cormac McKay. Rider: Clare Abbott (IRL).

Greenfort Gorgeous George (ISH)[TIH] – 2013 gelding by Kings Master (ISH)(TIH) out of Kokopilli Star (TB) by Hernando (TB). Breeder: George Masterson (Wexford). Rider: Elizabeth Power (IRL).

Cavalletti Clover (ISH) – 2014 gelding by Mermus R (KWPN) out of Cavalletti (ISH) by Euro Clover (ISH). Breeder: Gavin McGuigan (Tyrone). Rider: Amanda Goldsbury (NZL).