Abbott, Newsam and Murphy are on a mission for Badminton glory
THERE are several Northern Ireland riders in the Ireland squad which will be gunning for glory in the Badminton Mitsubishi International Horse Trials, which begin today.
Lisburn's Clare Abbott, Newcastle horseman Jim Newsam and Strangford's Joseph Murphy are competing for the Irish, with Michael Ryan, Ciaran Glynn and Padraig McCarthy in the televised event.
Newsam, who won the Ballindenisk international event last year on the Newry-bred Magennis, co-owned by Newcastle's Carole Hawthorne, is competing again on the 17-year-old bay gelding, which is one of the most experienced horses taking part.
Abbott, a part-time maths teacher in Dromore High, is entering her fifth Badminton competition and her third with the Tyrone-bred Euro Prince, owned by Dr Cormac McKay.
She and Euro Prince have been together for 11 years.
Both Ulster riders have the prestige of having competed at five-star level, with Abbott turning out in the Rio Olympics.
Murphy and his wife Gill hail from Strangford, while Ryan is a long-established rider and event organiser on the Cork circuit.
Hawthorne, the co-owner of Magennis, is the former owner of the Mourne Observer newspaper and a long-established breeder of event horses, with Newsam having competed on her previous mare Holly Golightly.
The last Ulster-bred horse to win Badminton was Word Perfect in 1998, bred in Markethill by nurse Myrtle Crozier and ridden by Chris Bartle.
McCarthy and Mr Chunky, who won the silver individual and team silver at last year's World Championships, are hot favourites for a Badminton win this week.
The running order for Irish riders at Badminton is as follow: Jim Newsam and Magennis (drawn 18); Ciaran Glynn and November Night (drawn 31); Michael Ryan and Dunlough Striker (drawn 43); Clare Abbott and Euro Prince (drawn 44); Joseph Murphy and Sportsfield Othello (drawn 48); Padraig McCarthy and Mr Chunky (drawn 53)