Lennon and Smyth shine at Balmoral
Dermott Lennon and Jonathan Smyth are keeping the local flag flying at the international showjumping arena in Balmoral Park this week as they lock horns in today's Grand Prix.
Lennon, who won the Red Mills International yesterday, is gearing up for the event on MJM Pursuit but will have to stay vigilant because the most consistent rider at the show, Jonathan Smyth from Strabane, will be giving him a run for it.
Floridian rider Kerry McCahill, 22, who trains with Greg Broderick in Thurles, was furtherest from home at the Balmoral Show.
"I train with Greg and Stephen Smith and am based in Ireland after finishing university for the summer," said McCahill.
"Greg told me it was a show with a cool atmosphere and big on the agricultural circuit and the arena would be first class. It totally is. I am loving my first trip to Balmoral; I had a seventh placing with my horse Cadensky but I hope to ride in the Grand Prix with Westbrook."
Sarah Boer, Peter Smyth's international groom and lives on site during the show, said: "I feed the horses at 7am, make sure they are relaxed and in a routine. Then I ensure all the manes are plaited and saddles and bridles cleaned for the day ahead."
Britain's Louise Saywell and her bay gelding Golden Arrow were the top jump off riders with the fastest time of 38.49 to win The Holmestead Saddlery International Stakes.
Eight riders from 20 starters made the cut to the second round, with Thurles man Broderick giving chase on LVS Wizard going clear in 39.35 but unable to catch Saywell for second placing.
Ireland's Robert Harrison occupied third on Landlystes Rubina with a foot perfect clear in 41.29.
Strabane maestro Jonathan Smyth finished fourth in this class on Mulvin Lui, making him the most consistent riders over Wednesday and Thursday's action.
The Connollys Red Mills International Spectacular saw success for Victoria Loane's Gelvin's Touch, ridden by Dermott Lennon. The grey gelding was one of eleven opening clears and scorched around the track to win in 39.30.
Galway rider Jessica Burke recorded a time of 40.47 for second place, ahead of Newry rider Eoin Gallagher.
Smyth was in the money again for sixth place on the highly consistent Mulvin Lui.
The Rydale Speed Challenge was won by GB rider Paul Barker's swift and accurate Happy Boy, showing serious talent as he overhauled the leader Sven Hadley to win in 65.92.
Barker is a long time competitor at Balmoral and has won many Grand Prix events, leading rider and speed classes, so taking the Rydale was all in a day's work.
• Fintona horsewoman Jenny Rankin, who made her name on the Global Champions Tour last July in France, has been selected for the Irish Nations Cup team in Drammen, Norway tomorrow.
Rankin who had surgery on her ACL in October is fully recovered and will compete with Benny's Legacy owned by Deirdre Bourns.
Team chief is Shane Carey and Rankin will be joined by Susan Fitzpatrick, Aidan Killeen and Ger O'Neill.
The Holmestead Saddlery International Stakes
1 Louise Saywell, GB Golden Arrow 0-0 38.49; 2 Greg Broderick IRE LVS Wizard 0-0 39.35; 3 Robert Harrison IRE 0-0 41.29.
The Connolly's Red Mills International Spectacular
1 Dermott Lennon IRE Gelvins Touch 0-0 39.30; Jessica Burke IRE Express Trend 0-0 40.47; 3 Eoin Gallagher IRE Flugel M 0-0 40.64.
The Rydale International Speed Challenge
1 Paul Barker GB Happy Boy 65.92; 2 Sven Hadley IRE Sumas's Taloubet 66.41; 3 Kerry Brennan GB Wellington M 66.44.