Banbridge teenager Alex Finney thrilled to clinch equestrian success in Denmark
Fledgling Banbridge international pony showjumper Alex Finney has won the first qualifier of the Federation Equestre Internationale Jumping Ponies Trophy at the Herning Show in Denmark.
Competing with Still Got Me, owned by her mother Jean, Finney (15) was first to go in the 14-pony jump-off and set the standard with an untouchable clear round of 42.40 to collect the first prize of €1,186.
Some 28 ponies took part in the prestigious new trophy series, with Norwegian Victoria Celine Dalen taking the runner-up position with Kadans Van Orchids after going clear in 43.20.
Third place went to Belgian rider Aline Serca with Opaline Optima after they produced a clear round in 43.79.
Ireland's Rhys Williams was fifth with K Little Hero, and Ryan Sweetnam finished sixth on Kilcummin Cruise.
Now Finney, who has excelled at home and in Europe already this year, has the chance to compete at the Lyon World Cup Show in France next month in the second round of the FEI Ponies Trophy.
A delighted Finney said: "It is a great opportunity for us to get the possibilities to ride at this type of show.
"I am so happy with my pony, who did such a really great job."
Meanwhile, Lisburn eventer Clare Abbott finished as the best of the Irish competitors in the seven-year-old World Finals for Event Horses at Le Lion D'Angers, France.
She took 12th place with Jewelant, owned by Lisa Rosbotham and Barbara Allen of Dromore, Co Down. Their father, Woods Rosbotham, bred Jewelant from his jumping stallion Valent.
Elizabeth Power was best of the Irish in the six-year-old World Championship section with eighth on Shannondale Marie by Shannondale Sarco, bred by Martin Walsh and owned by Sarah Hughes.
Bertram Allen recorded two wins in Tryon, North Carolina with his new horse Lafayette Van Overis. He took the $72,000 Classic from 66 entries and also triumphed in the $36,000 speed stakes.
On his first visit to Tryon, he joked: "The pressure's off now, the trip's been paid for."
He added: "My horse totally only wants to do the right thing."
The Tryon five-year-old $5,000 Spycoast Championship went to David O'Brien with Olivia SCF.