Shane Breen crowns great opening day for Irish

A dramatic last-gasp win by Shane Breen in the Sport Ireland Classic crowned Irish dominance of yesterday’s opening-day action at Dublin Horse Show.

Sixty-nine combinations lined out for the event, with twenty-four posting clear rounds, before a cut-off resulted in sixteen going forward for the decider.

Ireland’s Anthony Condon set the early pace on Balzac with a second clear round in 42.13, which kept the Waterford rider at the head of affairs for some time.

It wasn’t until Bertram Allen arrived with Izzy By Picobello that the lead changed hands, the pairing getting across the timer intact one fifth of a second faster.

It looked good enough for victory, but last-to-go Breen brought the event to a thrilling conclusion when coming home with Ipswich van de Wolfsakker to take the contest with barely a tenth of a second to spare, making it a complete Irish whitewash of the event.

In all, less than a third of a second separated the three Irish riders, who prevailed over notable efforts by France’s Robert Olivier (Eros) and Italian Bruno Chimirri (Tower Mouche).

Breen had also qualified Golden Hawk for the jump-off and had earlier posted the fastest time but crossed the line with four faults, which was good enough for seventh and a slice of the place money to bring his haul from the event close to €9,000.

In the day’s opening international Speed Stakes, Ireland’s Greg Broderick and Zuidam took command with a clear in 58.94, a time that would prove too good for the remainder to beat.

Darragh Kenny put in a good effort to haul in the leader, moving briefly into second on Chakito in 59.79, before American Lillie Keenan split the Irish pair, taking the runner-up spot in 59.68 on Be Gentle.

Ireland’s team manager Rodrigo Pessoa will today name his final four to represent the country in Friday’s Nations Cup for the Aga Khan Trophy. Bertram Allen (Molly Malone), Shane Breen (Golden Hawk), Denis Lynch (RMF Echo), Mark McAuley (Miebello) and Cian O’Connor (Good Luck) are among the riders in line for a place.

Eight nations will contest the event, with Ireland joined by Great Britain, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and USA. The draw for the starting order for the competition will take place later today.

Today’s main international classes are the Clayton Hotel Speed Derby at 1.25pm and the Anglesea Serpentine Speed Stakes at 3.30pm.

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