Greg savours his success at a sun-kissed Balmoral
Tipperary rider Greg Broderick captivated the Balmoral Park spectator stands as he galloped to victory over a strong jump off course to win the Bottle Green and Horsesport Ireland International Grand Prix.
Thirty nine horses competed over the 1m 45 track which saw Jason Foley record the first clear round on Castlefield Cass as ninth to jump.
Few riders showed a zero score but Strabane's Jonathan Smyth and Mulvin Lui were the second clear round followed by Tholm Keane and BMH Big Time.
Great Britain's Simon Buckley and Ella joined him in the jump off as did Nigel Coupe GB and US rider Julie Welles.
Despite superb rounds many riders faulted including Dermott Lennon and Peter Smyth but Broderick, who competed at the Rio Olympics, produced the seventh clear round at 34th to jump.
The jump off was fast and furious but serious turns and twists with related distances caught the riders on the hop. A beautiful clear from Jonathan Smyth in 45.60 pushed him into the lead after Jason Foley faulted.
However Tholm Keane steered the aptly named Big Time in the lead in 44.72 with a clean sheet only to be overhauled by Julie Welles, clear in 41.85
Broderick as last to go decided he could reduce strides between fences to win. Seering round with Charly Chaplin owned by his pupil Kerry McCahill, Broderick stopped the clock to win in 40.78.
He said: "I saved three strides overall by cutting one between the first and second fence, and another stride between the third and fourth, taking one stride less to the finish. Kerry is my pupil and competed here on her other horse Westbrook. I will do a few more shows and then Kerry takes Charly to Bonheiden and Lisbon Shows.
"Kerry is from Florida and training with me, so winning with her second horse Charly today was amazing. It has been a super show, lots of sunshine and great jumping."
Runner-up Julie Welles from Florida was thrilled. She explained: "Molly Orstrom from Virginia sent this horse to me a month ago. I rang her just now and she is over the moon. Amber was formerly ridden by Michael Whitaker and Luca Menetta and is only 10-years-old. I jumped her in Royal Windsor last week over smaller tracks in preparation for Balmoral, and here we are runner-up in the Grand Prix."
The AON Risk International Accumulator International saw victory for GB rider Paul Barker from 30 starters on board Happy Boy who excelled to win on a score of 49.32 beating colleague James Smith with his first day winner Simple Splendid who had a clean sheet in 49.85.
Newry's Eoin Gallagher, who has landed a job in Berkshire with Oakingham Stud finished third with the consistent Flugel M, a grey Dutch bred gelding by the famous Ukraine owned stallion, Cornet Obolensky, scoring 50.73. Gallagher explained: "I had two thirds and a tenth in the Grand Prix this week and I'm delighted with the horses.
"I have been based in England for 10 years and it was my first time competing in the international classes at Balmoral. I will stay on for the Dublin qualifiers at the Meadows." He is the son of Eddie and Deirdre Gallagher and former pupil of St Colman's Newry. Cookstown's Emily Turkington finished seventh on Legend, while Donacloney's Ross Mulholland was ninth on Ikaros.
The AON Accumulator
1 Paul Barker, GB Happy Boy 49.32; 2 James Smith GB Simply Splendid 49.85; 3 Eoin Gallagher, IRE Flugel M 50.73
The Bottle Green and Horsesport Ireland International G Prix
1 Greg Broderick IRE Charly Chaplin 0-0 40.78; 2 Julie Welles USA Amber 0-0 41.85; 3 Tholm Keane IRE BMH Big Time 0-0 44.72; 4 Jonathan Smith IRE Mulvin Lui 0-0 45.60