House lays foundations for future with Balmoral Show glory
Riders from seven nations battled it out in the two international classes that took place yesterday at the Balmoral Show.
The jumping arena is one of the best in Europe and the show organisers have attracted a quality field of horses and riders for this year's event.
The feature event was the Connolly's Red Mills international stakes, jumped over two rounds.
Thirty-one horses and riders lined out for the first big test of the week and and the course designer Steve Williams, from England, set a fair test but was very generous with the time allowed.
After the first round, 11 riders came back to go against the clock with Louise Saywell riding Mr Darcy, the favourite.
They had a vertical down and a slow time to finish out of the prizes but the winner was Peter Smyth, riding Corrib House.
Corrib House is by Harlequin du Carel and the flowing track suited the Strabane rider.
Afterwards, a delighted Smyth said: "It's always nice to win here in Balmoral in front of the home crowd and Corrib is a very nice horse who loves to jump and the bigger the fences, the better.
"We will hopefully compete in the grand prix on Friday."
Second went to Cavan rider Neal Fearon riding Leanorth Boom Boom, who was clear but two seconds adrift.
Fearon is building up a nice string of horses for grand prix level and has big hopes for the son of VDL Douglas, with third place going to Joan Green and the mare Biscaya D'Eversem, who was seven hundredths of a second slower than Fearon to get into the ribbons.
In the opening international competition, it was a two phase event which meant that riders that went clear over the first eight fences could continue on to the phase against the clock.
Alexander Butler, who is from Co Meath but based in Straffan, Co Kildare, partnered Vimminka to win.
Fifth last to go, Butler had the advantage of watching his brother Edward jump. He ended up in third place with Caugherty and he came inside to the second last fence, which left it easier for him to turn back to the last and stop the clock under a second quicker and push George Whitaker into second with Axel Springs for Great Britain.
The international action continues today with the feature event being The Rydale Clothing International Spectacular, getting under way at 2pm.