Show jumping may be staged at a number of dog tracks

Consideration is been given to staging show jumping at a number of greyhound stadia next year.

It follows on from a suggestion in a review published this year by consultants Indecon that alternative uses be found for the stadia, as they were idle for much of the week, according to Horse Sport Ireland chairman Pat Wall.

“Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney queried if show jumping could be held in stadia,” said Mr Wall yesterday. “It is only one of a range of initiatives being explored to increase the utilisation of these stadia.

“What needs to be determined is if it is feasible to put on show jumping, examining if the surface is suitable, the provision of parking for lorries, etc.

“The suggestion is that it will take place on four Friday evenings in June, as part of an inter-city challenge.

“This will be about entertainment, putting the word ‘show’ into show jumping and introducing new spectators to the sport. These stadia have great facilities for dining and corporate entertainment.

“It will have to be commercially viable. Also under consideration is whether betting could be an element.

“I think it is an interesting idea, but it hasn’t gone beyond the concept stage.

“Existing equestrian centres could perceive this as a threat, but qualifiers could be held at these centres. If it generated new spectators, it would be to the benefit of the sport overall.”

The Irish Greyhound Board is €22m in debt and one of the suggestions by Indecon was that it sell off assets, including the Harold’s Cross track, and transform its performance if it is to survive.

* It wouldn’t be too wide of the mark to say Jessica Kürten in the past few years has been comparatively anonymous by previous standards, though she gave proof she remains a force when winning the grand prix in Odense, Denmark, in October, earning her the key to a €40,000 Subaru.

This weekend the Antrim rider lines out in the Gucci Paris Masters and, as if to remind us of her talent, she rode VDL Zapatero to third place in a speed class yesterday.

She also saddles up her Odense grand prix winner Arezzo VDL, a nine-year-old chestnut gelding.

She is joined by Cameron Hanley, the Mayo rider travelling on the back of a good outing last weekend in Stockholm, Sweden, where he produced a double clear with Caretina de Joter to place fifth in the grand prix. He is saving the mare for next week’s Rolex Top 10 show in Geneva, Switzerland, and has brought Living The Dream to Paris.

“I was very happy with Stockholm, but it was a three-star show and this is up another level,” said Hanley yesterday. “I’ve Living the Dream this week and he is a horse that is capable of jumping any track,” said the German-based rider, blaming his own misjudgement in the recent World Cup class in Stuttgart, for keeping him out of the jump-off.

“The Gucci Masters is a sister show with Los Angeles, which was on a few weeks ago, and I was clear there, so I know he is up to the task.

“Aside from that, there is €350,000 on offer in the grand prix, which is plenty of incentive.”

* Tony Hurley confirmed yesterday he will seek another term as Showjumping Ireland chairman next year.

The Corkman was returned as chairman of the Munster Region on Tuesday night and was nominated to go forward as national chairman for 2015.

If successful, it will be Hurley’s third consecutive year at the helm.

He feels he will not have any rivals when the new executive meets in January to select the chairman.

“I can confirm that my name is in the ring. Seeing as the association is in a healthy state and in a good light, I would be surprised if I will be opposed.

“The finances of the association are healthy and membership held its own this year, as did registration of animals. I’m very hopeful that will continue next year.”

Hurley also served a three-year stint as chairman from 2000 to 2003.

Tuesday’s meeting also saw Tipperary’s Tomás Ryan put in as vice-chairman, with Waterford’s Mairead Flynn as secretary and Michael Hennessy as treasurer.

The following ar the Munster representatives for national committees: John McNamara, Co Clare, (ponies); Mary Ryan, Co Limerick (training); Margaret Widger, Co Tipperary (amateurs); Kate Horgan, Co Cork (judges and stipendiary stewards); Wayne Santry, Co Cork (course designers); Michael Blake, Co Clare (juniors and young riders); Joe Murphy, Co Waterford (health and safety); Michael Hennessy, Co Cork, and Ann Waistell, Co Waterford (management and finance); Michael Blake, Co Clare (international affairs); and Kieran O’Donovan, Co Cork (national competitions).

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