Balmoral Show: Dermott Lennon leaps to title in a thrilling jump-off
Constant rain didn't deter the hardy showjumpers at Balmoral Show as the second day of international competition provided spectators with celebrations when former world champion and senior Nations Cup rider Dermott Lennon won the main class.
An entertaining nine-horse jump-off from 31 starters in the Rydale Clothing International Spectacular saw a classy performance from the Banbridge man on board his Rolex World Cup horse Hallmark Elite.
Elite, owned by Dromore's Woods Rosbotham, had the winning jump-off round to take the £5,000 class in a time of 38.56.
GB rider Rob Maguire on Zidane VIII had to be content with second place ahead of Saintfield man Conor Swail occupying third with the US owned-Lansdowne.
Peter Murphy (GB) on board Del Fuego was fourth.
Lurgan rider Angela Percy, on her debut at the international arena in Balmoral, impressed with a 12th placing on Sandra Lennon's potential Olympic horse Vampire.
Angela, stable rider for the Dermott Lennon stable, has travelled extensively to shows in Europe and North America and competes all Lennon's second string while Dermott does the five star circuit.
Lennon has now been named for the Nation's Cup squad in Rome by Ireland manager Robert Splaine.
Meanwhile, Alexander Butler just can't stop winning at Balmoral. Last year the Meath man won two classes and this year opened his account by taking the Husqvarna Top Score on board Irish-bred Lowhill Ambassador.
Butler, who has many wins on his CV for 2012, partnered Tom Jones's home bred bay gelding to produce the highest score of 1450 in 60 seconds. Each fence carried points, with the Joker fence having 200 points, which were deducted if a pole fell.
Saintfield rider Conor Swail took the runner-up prize on Nepomuk owned by J Kelly after he chased Butler to score 1400 ahead of third placed GB rider Graham Lovegrove on Jerome II.
Dermott Lennon finished fourth with the Olympia Grand Prix winner Loughview Lou Lou on a score of 1360.
The Botanica Amateur Championship winner was Sinead Thompson on her own horse Kilmainham Lady with the fastest jump off time of 36.85.
Monaghan-based Shiekh Samir Mirdad and Ureas were second ahead of Naomi Wilson and Urker Lady. Rachel Turley, Karen Pearson and Lisa Spratt occupied the next three places.
The Celebrity Racehorse to Riding Horse Class was won by Downpatrick woman Phillippa Baird with Amstecos.
Runner-up was Ballyclare rider Shelly Boyle with Bat out of Hell, while Donacloney trainer Suzy Barkley was third on the grey dappled grey gelding Firecatcher which was sired by Alfred Buller's thoroughbred Lahib.
This class had a total prize fund of £1500 and was a showcase to show successful Irish bred or trained racehorses as suitable riding horses after retirement.