Greg Broderick gave the Corkman reason to cheer yesterday, when claiming the opener, a one-round speed class, on Mhs Automatic. The Tipperary rider had over two seconds to spare over Germany’s Phillip Weishaupt aboard Lucky Luke O and was suitably appreciative to have secured the ride on the 10-year-old chestnut gelding.
“He was sent to me by Frances O’Regan in Co Cork, having been ridden by her sons Alan and Conor. I was sent the horse to be sold and I was lucky that Cerulean Stables in New York bought the horse and left him with me until September. He will then compete with Cerulean owner Amanda Forte in the US. We are in partnership together with a few horses.
“Last year, we sold Javas Keltic Mist to former Army rider Brian Curran-Cournane and he went on to jump double clear in Drammen, Norway, a few weeks ago. He looks a very exciting prospect for the future.”
Ireland go into today’s contest lying second last in Europe Division One, following the third leg in Rome, where Splaine and Co were absent, it not being among its four point-gaining shows. To date, Ireland have accumulated 125 points, after finishing last in Belgium and third in France. It is no surprise, therefore, that the manager has called on the La Baule squad — Bertram Allen (who has risen six places to fifth in the latest Longines World Rankings ), Shane Breen, Broderick and Cian O’Connor — to do the business in St Gallen, where they were yesterday drawn last to go.
While Ireland have a bit to do to be among the top seven countries to qualify for the Furusiyya final in Barcelona, Spain, next September, Broderick says there is not a greater urgency in the camp.
“I wouldn’t say there is a sense of pressure. We are all eager to do well. Our position in the league certainly concentrates the mind, though. I think it has to come together on the day, but with the horses and riders here, if we get a rub of the green, we can be there or thereabouts. All the team horses look to be in good shape.
“It is very important we do well. We had a disappointing start in Lummen and need another good result. it would definitely improve the team spirit. We cannot afford any more bad results and it would put us in a better state heading for Dublin, where we would be expecting to do well, it being home territory.
“I suppose we are where we are due to a lack of horsepower. We have some of the best riders, but it is so hard to keep the top horses. That is why we are so thankful to our owners. My owners, Lee and Paul Kruger, are Canadian and without them I would not be here in St Gallen competing on the Irish team. The owners play a major part. These top horses are very much sought after.”
As for Splaine’s birthday, Broderick had no doubt: “A double clear would be the best present I could give Robert.”
Irish stalwarts Billy Twomey and Cian O’Connor will headline the Cork leg of the Jumping In The City series this day week.
Twomey will compete in the grand prix with Tinka’s Serenade, while O’Connor will saddle up Quidam’s Cherie in his aim to take the top prize at Curraheen Park.
The concept begins this evening at Limerick Greyhound Stadium and former world show jumping champion Dermott Lennon has been installed as favourite by Paddy Power to win the grand prix with Loughview Lou Lou. Priced at 11/4, he travels to the Treaty City three weeks after winning the grand prix with Judith Sossicks mare at the three-star show in Windsor.
Captain Michael Kelly (Drumiller Lough) and Catherine Thornton (Derryinver Luxury Cruise) are joint second favourites at 9/2..
I would assume not many know of Cian O’Connor’s liking of boyband Westlife. He comes clean in an Olympic Council of Ireland athlete profile on YouTube doing the rounds this week. It also gives an insight into what drives him. Eventers Camilla Speirs and Aoife Clark also feature.
Clark had some good news this week when moving to 20th place in the World Rankings, a rise of 11 places.
Joseph Murphy replaced her in 33rd place, a jump of two places.
However, the biggest mover is Michael Ryan, the Bandon-based Limerick rider up 100 places to 52nd.
Corkman Austin O’Conor finished best of the Irish when sixth in the CCI three-star at Tattersalls Horse Trials last weekend.
Riding his second-string Kilpatrick Knight, the 40-year-old Buckinghamshire-based rider concluded on his dressage score of 50pens, describing the 10-year-old Master Imp gelding as a “hero”.
A clear round in the show jumping for Britain’s Kitty King (Ceylor LAN) saw her finish on top, with William Fox-Pitt (Luxury FH) rising to second place after Andrew Nicholson rued four faults on Jet Set to slip to third.
In the CIC three-star, Joseph Murphy and Electric Cruise produced clears in cross-country and show jumping to place fifth with 44.80pens.
Kilworth and Araglen Gymkhana takes place on Sunday, with classes for all grades of horses and ponies, including a 1mtr horse contest, which was omitted from the SJI bulletin.