O’Neill string in rude health for Lanaken following Irish Breeders Classic win

  • 5 September 2023, 15:12

Ger O’Neill and his family with HSI Head of Breeding, Innovation and Development Sonja Egan after Ballyshan BF Super Hero’s Irish Breeders Classic win. Pic: Laurence Dunne, jumpinaction.net

Barnadown show saw combinations excel in preparation for Young Horse Championships

The 2023 FEI WBFSH World Breeding Jumping Championships for Young Horses is almost upon us. Several of the Irish Sport Horses due to line out in Lanaken were in action at the Irish Breeders Classic and showed that they are a major force to be reckoned with.

The Irish enjoyed fantastic success at the World Championships in 2022 when Ethen Ahearne and ABC Saving Grace (ISH), owned and bred by Patrick Kehoe, took the six-year-old crown.

On top of that, Kilkenny’s Ger O’Neill and The Irish Sport Horse BP Goodfellas (ISH), bred by Kevin Babington and Greg Broderick’s Ballypatrick Stables, were crowned World Champions in the five-year-old final.

That result completed an incredible hat-trick of World Championship wins for O’Neill, who won the six-year-old title with the Killossery Kaiden (ISH) in 2016 and was world champion again in 2017 with Columbcille Gipsy (ISH).

At the weekend, O’Neill laid down a marker for more potential Lanaken glory at the lucrative Irish Breeders Classic final in Barnadown Equestrian Centre when winning the 5/6 -Year-Old Irish Breeders Classic Final on board Ballyshan BF Super Hero (ISH).

The five-year-old has been selected by HSI’s Show Jumping Young Horse Team Chef d’Equipe Taylor Vard for the championships in Lanaken alongside a host of promising talent, with Vard saying: “I am very excited about this squad. For sure, there were some difficult choices to be made with so many good horses to choose from. I had to keep in mind the challenges of Lanaken and the difficulties of qualifying for finals and what’s demanded of horse and rider.”

Ballyshan BF Super Hero jumping to victory at the IRish Breeders Classic. Pic: Laurence Dunne, jumpinaction.net

Bred by Gary Doherty and owned by Martin Egan, Ballyshan BF Super Hero saw off a massive 17 other combinations in an ultra-competitive jump-off, winning with a lightning-quick clear round in a time of 35.62 seconds to take victory.

Mikey Pender was second in a time of 36.24 seconds with the Bravo Hughes-owned HHS Ice Flo (ISH). Nicholas Connors finished in third place, riding Jump The Gun (WSI) completing his jump-off round in a time of 37.62. The gelding, owned and bred by Ann Connors in Co Waterford, has also been selected for the championships.

In a fantastic class for O’Neill, he was also in fourth place with Ballinaguilkey Special Star (ISH), who is also Lanaken-bound later this month.

Fresh from his Dublin Horse Show Puissance victory, Comdt. Geoff Curran finished over a second ahead of his nearest rival to win the 7/8-Year-Old Final with DHF Alliance (ISH). Clem McMahon was runner up with the GBBS International-owned Grand Prix DK. Jason Foley completed the podium with Mister Qerly Z, owned by Castlefield Breeding Farm.

In the 4-Year-Old Final victory went to Daren Hopkins and the Ballywalter Stables-owned Enzo BW. Vincent Byrne was second with Ivor Broderick’s Cartier VDL, and Maria Vozone was third with the Irish Sport Horse HHS Barcelona.

Also attracting large crowds on the final day of the Irish Breeders Classic show, was the 1.55/1.60m Plusvital Grand Prix, where Jonathan Smyth won on board Noletta Smyth and Roy Craig’s Mulvin Lui (ISH). The combination were the only ones from the 26 starters to jump double clear. Francis Connors was runner-up with Carrigshawn Vendi Royal (ISH), with Pender completing the podium with Chacco Bay.

The FEI WBFSH World Breeding Jumping Championships for Young Horses 2023 takes place in Lanaken, Belgium on 20th-24th September and the selections can be find at the link below.

Combinations named ahead of FEI WBFSH World Breeding Jumping Championships for Young Horses 2023



ABC Saving Grace (ISH) – 2016 mare by Kannan (KPWN) out of Ardnehue Diamond Cruiser (ISH)(TIH) by Cruising (ISH)(TIH). Breeder: Patrick Kehoe, Co Carlow. Owner: Frank Auer and Maja Auer. Rider: Ethen Ahearne (IRL)

Columbcille Gipsy (ISH) – 2011 bay mare by Toulon (BWP) out of Gipsy III (HOLST), by Grundyman (TB). Bred by Eamonn Murphy, Co Kilkenny. Owner: Robert Houston. Rider: Ger O’Neill (IRL)

BP Goodfellas (ISH) – 2017 gelding by Stakkato Gold (HANN) out of Goodwins Loyalty (ISH) by O.B.O.S. Quality (OLD). Breeder: Kevin Babington & GBBS International Ltd. Owner: GBBS International Ltd, ridden by Ger O’Neill (IRL)

Ballyshan B F Super Hero (ISH): 2018 gelding by Celtic Hero B Z (Zang) out of Ballyshan Luximportant (ISH), by Lux Z (Hann). Breeder: Gary Doherty, Co Donegal. Owner: Martin Egan. Rider: Ger O’Neill (IRL)

HHS Ice Flo (ISH) – 2018 mare by Iceman De Muze (BWP) out of HHS Go With The Flo (ISH) by Cyrano 145 (HOLST). Breeder: Kevin Meager, Co Tipperary. Owner: Bravo Hughes Ltd. Rider: Mikey Pender (IRL)

Jump The Gun (WSI): 2018 Gelding by I’m Special De Muze (BWP) out Just Jump (ISH), by Master Imp (TB). Breeder and owner: Ann Connors, Co Waterford. Ridden by Nicholas Connors (IRL)

Ballinaguilkey Special Star (ISH) – 2018 gelding by Big Star (KWPN) out of Cavalier Milly (ISH), by Ramiro B (BWP). Breeder: John and Barbara Walsh, C. Carlow. Owner: KM Sporthorses. Rider: Ger O’Neill (IRL)

DHF Alliance (ISH) – 2015 Mare by Ard Vdl Douglas (KWPN) out of Rosie Bee (ISH) by Lux Z (HANN). Breeder: Paul Douglas. Owner: Minister for Defence. Rider: Commandant Geoff (IRL).

Enzo BW (ISH) – 2019 gelding by Emerald Van’t Ruytershof (BWP) out of Cardentina Della Caccia (SI) by Cardento (HOLST). Breeder and owner: Ballywalter Stables. Rider: Daren Hopkins

HHS Barcelona (ISH) – 2019 mare by Emerald Van’t Ruytershof (BWP) out of HHS Inspiration (ISH) by O.B.O.S. Quality 004 (OLD). Breeder: Miguel Bravo, Co Kilkenny. Owner: Bruna Batista De Oliveria. Rider: Maria Vozone

Mulvin Lui (ISH) – 2010 gelding by Luidam (KWPN) out of Castleconnor Baron (ISH) by Baron De Chantepie (SF). Breeder: Vincent Loftus. Owner: Noletta Smyth, Roy Craig. Rider: Jonathan Smyth (IRL)

Carrigshawn Vendi Royal (ISH) – 2015 mare by Dondoctro Ryal K (KWPN) out of Carrigshawn Vendi (ISH) by Ars Vivendi (HOLST). Breeder: John (Jack) Warner, Co Wexford. Owner: Francis, Jenny and Kate Connors. Rider: Francis Connors (IRL)