Irish horses and riders recorded an incredible result last Sunday at the FEI WBFSH Show Jumping World Breeding Championship for Young Horses at Lanaken in Belgium, taking home two gold and two silver medals.
It was a spectacular performance from the Irish to claim four of the nine World Championship medals on offer.
Carlow’s Jason Foley and The Irish Sport Horse Rockwell RC, bred by Ronan Byrne and owned by Kevin Crumley, claimed Ireland’s first medal of the day when they struck gold in the final for five-year-old horses, while Kildare’s Mikey Pender and Chacco Bay collected the silver.
Eleven combinations had jumped clear in the opening round to set up a thrilling jump-off, with Foley taking the title with a double clear round in 37.72 seconds, just under half a second ahead of Pender in runner-up spot.
The result came just 12 months after Irish riders took gold, silver and bronze in the five-year-old final at the same championships in 2018.
Foley, who is just 18-years-old, admitted that he was struggling a bit with his steering in the jump-off, but for a very good reason.
“I dislocated my shoulder three weeks ago in a fall. I didn’t actually think that I could make it here, so I hope the hospital doesn’t see this, but I thought, let’s try it and I was lucky that it went okay.”
The six-year-old final saw Mikey Pender add to his tally, when he collected another Silver medal with MHS Cardenta, finishing just a tenth of a second off the winner’s time. Kilkenny’s Vincent Byrne also claimed an excellent seventh place finish with Be Aware (ISH).
More medals were to follow in the curtain-closing seven-year-old final, with Kilkenny’s Seamus Hughes-Kennedy, who is just 17-years-old, and Cuffesgrange Cavadora (ISH), bred by Eamonn Sheahan, taking the winner’s prize when last to go in the jump-off to complete a brilliant World Championships for Irish Sport Horse breeding.
“Last year Cavadaro finished fourth in the six-year-old final with Ger O’Neill in the saddle. They were clear and in the lead until the last few competitors but just missed out on a medal, so I’m very pleased we’ve earned gold today,” said the talented young Irish rider.
The future is already mapped out for this winning pair it seems.
“We’re going for European Junior Gold next year,” said the rider’s mother, Clare Hughes, who also owns the winning horse.
Horse Sport Ireland CEO Ronan Murphy added: “This has been a memorable World Breeding Championships for our horses and riders. To take home two gold and two silver medals against the best young horses in the world is another huge boost for the Irish Sport Horse industry. I want to congratulate all our riders, owners and of course the breeders of all our horses and the entire team who represented Ireland brilliantly at these championships this week.”
Rockwell RC (ISH) F by Kannan (KWPN) out of Urban Sea (ISH) by Guidam (SF) bred by Ronan Byrne owned by Kevin Crumley ridden by Jason Foley.
Chacco Bay (OLDBG) by Chaccato out of Heops. Owner: Hiltrup Sporthorses GmbH. Breeder: Alfons Brueggehagen ridden by Michael Pender
MHS Cardenta (ISH) F by Cardento (HOLST) out of Willow Point (ISH) by Diamond Serpent (ISH) bred by Thomas Brennan owned by Bravo Hughes Ltd ridden by Michael James Pender.
Be Aware (ISH) by Pacino (BWP) out of Warrenstown Well Aware (ISH) by Cruising (ISH) bred and owned by Ronan Tynan and ridden by Vincent Byrne
Cuffesgrange Cavadora (ISH) by Z Wellie 72 (KWPN) out of Cuffesgrange Cavalidam (ISH) by Luidam (KWPN) bred by Eamonn Sheahan, owned by Clare Hughes, ridden by Seamus Hughes Kennedy.