Bruce's girl Jessica set to Boss the RDS
Many eyes and cameras will be trained on the famous daughter and son of two world renowned celebrities as Dublin Horse Show opens today in the traditional Royal Dublin Society showgrounds setting at Ballsbridge.
Jessica Springsteen, daughter of 'The Boss', Bruce Springsteen and his wife Pattie Scialfa, will be in action for the United States showjumping team while Robert Smith, son of legendary horseman Harvey, is in the Great Britain team.
Ulster competitors will have their sights firmly trained on success, however, with leading local riders, including Strabane's Peter Smyth, Saintfield's Conor Swail and former world champion Dermott Lennon, from Banbridge, taking on the world's best at the five star horse show, set to attract some 100,000 spectators between today and Sunday.
The prize fund of nearly one million euro over 132 classes will be contested by 1,500 entries, at least 30 per cent of them from Northern Ireland.
International riders from Ireland this year include Derry's Jordan Coyle, Clem McMahon from Clones and Neal Fearon, Cavan.
The US team also comprises Georgina Bloomberg of Albany, New York, daughter of the former New York City mayor while two years ago Jessica Springsteen was on the winning Aga Khan team and is delighted to return this year with Audrey Coulter, Lauren Hough and Laura Kraut. The all girl squad could start as favourites for this Friday's Nations Cup event.
The world's leading lady rider Edwina Tops Alexander, winner of the Global Champions Tour and many Grand Prixs worldwide, represents Australia, while GB sends the former world number one Scott Brash, with Robert Bevis, Ben Maher, Laura Renwick and the brilliant Robert Smith.
Four year old showjumpers qualified from NI include Peter Smyth's Derrycastle Sensation and Moneybroom Alegro Vivace. Fermanagh rider Kerry Taggart competes with Hamilton while Florencecourt's Catherine Thornton starts on Cashmans Diamond and Drumiller Sensation.
Ards rider Michael Cave brings Ollie Ward's Ardagh Rock Start while Cookstown's Emily Turkington campaigns Norman Watt's Tehenga Beach. The five year old championship features Christian Coyle, Derry, Omagh's Jenny Rankin and James Hogg, Maguiresbridge.
Annahilt's Edward Little features in the six year old section with Jack Diamond owned by the McLoughlin Bros.
Up and coming teenagers in the horse section include Jodie Creighton, Antrim, and Annabelle Heffron, Dungannon.
Randalstown rider Phillip Gaw should impress in the eight year old championship while a list of Ulster pony riders look strong in all the height classes. These include Olivia Roulston, Derry, Abby Morton and Lucy Morton, Armagh with Jemima Heffron, Dungannon and Niamh McEvoy, Omagh.
Wednesday kicks off at the RDS with the first competitions from 9.10am. The main arena features the six year olds, followed by the Avery Crest Speed Stakes at 11.35am.
There is a demonstration from Clemence Faivre gala at 3.05pm followed by the Irish Sports Council classic at 3.15pm. Young riders conclude the day at 6.10pm. Show horses are in Ring 1 from 8.45am with the parade of Connemara Stallions at 3.45pm followed by a dressage display and three year old eventers.
Irish Draughts are in Ring 2, followed by Connemara performance classes, event horses and a Traditional Irish Sport Horse Breeding demonstration.