“We didn’t have superstars in dressage last year, but we were one of the only countries to get a full team around without faults, as it was very soft, but we have some good combinations here this year and, who knows?
“The ground is faster than last year. It’s a good course and not overly technical. There are questions that will test scope and some that will question accuracy.
“The difficulty will come if you aim to go inside the time. If your aim is to get around conservatively, you should manage it, and even the younger horses. Traditionally, it’s a place where you will see some horses doing their first CCI.”
McCarthy got his bid off to a good start yesterday on Bernadette Utopia with a dressage performance that left the pair eighth overnight on 47.40 penalties.
“I’m very happy. She’s been good all year. She’s very consistent in all phases and has done four double clears at three-star level,” said the Devon-based Tipperary native as he walked the cross-country track.
Ireland eventing manager Nick Turner is not at the event. While his contract expired after the Olympics, it is believed he would remain in situ until the end of the year.
“Nick’s not present, as it didn’t look like we would be able to field a team, originally, but we have a stand-in in Georgia Stubbington,” said McCarthy, who also lines out today with Dromgurrihy Blue, having taken over the ride from Ollie Townend.
“Basically, the aim is to get a qualifying result for Badminton. I’ve only ridden him five or six times. This weekend is all about getting to know him a bit better. He’s 14, but he’s a sound and healthy horse and he knows his job. I’m very much looking forward to progressing with him next year,” said McCarthy.
The Puissance gelding completed two successful seasons with Townend, with the pair winning Burgham CIC three-star, placing 11th in the CCI at four-star Burghley, and 5th at Houghton CIC three-star.
Owner Mike McGrath from Monkstown, Co Cork, said he always intended to move the horse - who was campaigned by Bandon-based Michael Ryan in his early career - on to an Irish rider.
“It was always my intention at some stage to give the horse to an Irish rider. I have been very impressed with Padraig McCarthy’s all-round ability, motivation and his recent successes,” said McGrath, a Munster Eventing committee member.
Tegan White (Texan Style) lies 45th after scoring 62.80pens in yesterday’s dressage, while Jim Newsam (Magennis), James O’Haire (China Doll) and Felicity Ward (The Illusionist) begin their challenge today.
* Judy Reynolds has risen to 20th place in the World Dressage Rankings and she is likely to better her position again when the rankings are updated next month. It’s fair to say we are witnessing something special with the Kildare rider, who last weekend scored her second double in the space of a week, while again setting another record Irish score.
The 35-year-old opened her World Cup account in Devon, Philadelphia, with a win in the grand prix on Vancouver K, scoring scoring 75.66% to break the Irish record score of 75.24% she set when winning the grand prix at the four-star show in Achleiten, Austria, in June.
On a damp Saturday night in Devon, she was again the best, winning the grand prix kür with the Joe and Kathleen Reynold’s 14-year-old gelding.
* Sonny Bill, bred by James O’Keeffe, Killeagh, Co Cork, by his IHD stallion Breeda Mountain has notched up a win and a second place in England recently, qualifying for the Horse of the Year Show in the hands of Katie Jerram. This was highlighted by Susan McCarthy of the Irish Draught Horse Breeders Association (IDHBA), as she pointed out that Sonny Bill had been sold at the IDHBA sale two years ago before moving to England.
This year’s sale, which has attracted good entries, takes place on Oct 16 at Ballybrack Equestrian Centre. Beginning at 11am.
* JCT Equestrian is again sponsoring a hand-made pair of leather riding boots for Templemartin Hunter Trials (Carbery Hunt), which takes place this Sunday.
Classes include Under 12s and Over 13s, Training Pony, Training Horse, Training Pairs, Novice Pony, Novice Horse, Novice Pairs, and Open.
Under 12s and Over 13s take place from 10am to 11am only, followed immediately by Training Pony.
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