Millstreet’s international classes kick off at the Green Glens arena
- 13 August 2015, 19:51
GREAT Britain’s Joe Whitaker claimed victory in the opening international competition of the 2015 Millstreet International Horse Show today (Thursday).
Riding Steven Whitaker and Mrs Dawn Makin’s Lola V, the South Yorkshire based rider steered the ten year old Locarno 62 bred gelding to victory in the hotly contested qualifier for Sunday’s Millstreet International Grand Prix.
“This is my third trip to Millstreet and I would love to come home with the Grand Prix title,’ said Whitaker, speaking after his win this afternoon. “Lola V won the 1.50m Grand Prix at Yorkshire Show a few weeks ago and he feels great so I’m pretty hopeful!’
For the second year running, Ireland’s Alexander Butler had to settle for the runner-up position with Caroline Byrne’s Irish Sport Horse gelding Halloway Cruise while Damien Patrick Griffin took third with Pamela Donaghy’s Tabby.
The second international class of the day, the Cavalor 1.35m Two Phase saw the tricolour raised over the Green Glens Arena for the first time this week when Kilkenny man Vincent Byrne recorded the fastest clear in the second phase with James Weldon’s Mr. Rockefeller.
Byrne prevented Joe Whitaker from notching up a second win, with the British rider settling for second with Ronnoco Jump Ltd.’s Lareeco. Byrne has had the ride on the Ard VDL Douglas eleven year old gelding since he was a five year-old and took the honours in last year’s Irish Field Speed Derby at Millstreet. Mr Rockefeller was also the leading horse in the National Grand Prix League last year. Speaking after his win this afternoon, Byrne said, “He’s always been a good winner for me. He can go fast when he needs to and he always tries to be careful.’”
Of the eight International classes (including three Longines Ranking classes), the €50,000 Millstreet International Grand Prix is the main highlight, taking place on Sunday 16th August. A strong field of riders from around the world have travelled to Millstreet this week, with ten nations represented on the final entry list, including four riders rated in the top 140 in the Longines Jumping Rankings (June 2015).
The home team includes two members of the victorious Aga Khan Nations’ Cup team who brought the RDS alive last week. Greg Broderick and Cian O’ Connor will be temporarily putting their team alliance aside as they each battle it out for their share of the €200,000 prize fund on offer. Joining them at Millstreet are many of Ireland’s top performing show-jumpers including Cameron Hanley, Billy Twomey, Richard Howley, Dermott Lennon and Clem McMahon.
Millstreet 2014 Grand Prix champion Thomas Ryan has come back to the Green Glens Arena hoping to defend his title. He faces opposition from a strong contingent of visiting riders from nations including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Great Britain and the USA. Also making a transition from their usual games, National Hunt jockey Paul Carberry and International Event rider Elizabeth Power will be hoping to make their mark in Millstreet this week.