Shane Breen rounds off a memorable Horse Of The Year Show for the Irish
- 10 October 2022, 09:50
Tipperary’s Shane Breen completed a memorable 2022 Horse of the Year Show for Irish riders when he was crowned JCB Leading Showjumper of the Year last night (Sunday).
Breen (pictured) claimed his first win in HOYS’ feature class, steering the 10-year-old stallion Cuick Star Kervec to a thrilling victory in the three-star 1m60 Grand Prix. He pipped John Whitaker, who almost marked 50 years of competing at the show with a third leading showjumper triumph, by 19 hundredths of a second. John, riding Equine America Unick du Francport, clocked 34.80 seconds, while his nephew Jack Whitaker and Equine America Valmy de la Lande finished third.
Breen, though, was not to be denied, following fellow Irish winners Jessica Burke, Richard Howley and Commandant Geoff Curran in topping the HOYS podium this year. His HOYS triumph came less than four months after he achieved another career-first by winning the iconic Hickstead Derby.
Shane was quick to salute a horse he bought as a yearling after claiming the top prize of £15,700.
“To win the Derby was something I had been trying to do for a while, and tonight was also very special,” he said.
“The Irish have had a great show – Jessica Burke [who recorded three HOYS wins] was incredible. We all love coming here, the atmosphere is second to none.
“It was only the third Grand Prix of Cuick Star Kervec’s life, and to win here at Horse of the Year Show is a great achievement. He has an amazing stride, his scope is incredible. I have never ridden a horse with that much scope in my life. I’ve always thought he is going to be a superstar, and I think this is the first step of many big steps.”
Shane also paid tribute to his friend and rival, 67-year-old John, adding: “He is a legend of the sport, and I knew he was in it to win it tonight. He is an inspiration. He is certainly not thinking of retiring, and he is such an incredible rider and sportsman – a real ambassador for the sport.”