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Conor Swail is leading the Irish in challenge for Dublin glory


Ulster's Conor Swail

Ulster's Conor Swail

?INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

Ulster's Conor Swail

Conor Swail will lead the Ulster contingent competing for a share in a €1million prize pot at the Dublin Horse Show.

The Saintfield rider returns from Mannheim, in Germany and has been selected for Friday's Aga Khan Nations Cup team, with Team Manager Robert Splaine, having no difficulty choosing him after a year of top form and numerous Grand Prix wins in North America.

The five day show opens it's gates this evening for the arrival of the international horses and youngstock, with a number of other Ulster riders, owners, breeders and producers aiming to get their hands on a share of the prize money at the RDS.

Former world champion Dermott Lennon, from Banbridge, also heads up the international section which has a strong list of Northern Ireland showjumpers ready to do battle in the national classes and youngster cups.

Belfast artist Sophie Dalm, who was champion young rider last year, is just one of the talented female showjumpers competing. Cookstown's Emily Turkington, Strabane's Alison Irwin and young event horse producer Emma Jackson, County Down are always strong challengers.

Enniskillen rider Catherine Thornton is an expert in young horse classes and expected to excel.

Londonderry brothers Daniel and Jordan Coyle are always consistent winners in the RDS, as is Tempo producer Gabriel Tunney, Edward Lyttle, Annahilt and James Hogg, Maguiresbridge.

Loose showjumpers in Simmonscourt arena for three-year-old horses will see Dungannon farmer Norman Hammond on his first trip to Dublin with a filly by Peter Pan produced by neighbour Gareth Swail.

Armagh's Marshall Jenkinson also makes the trip as do horses from the Conlon and Morton families.

Charlotte Houston from Banbridge was last year's RDS pony Grand Prix champion and is also competing this year and the younger classes will feature many from Northern Ireland.

Georgina Bloomberg, daughter of the former Mayor of New York competes on the US squad.

Eddie Macken, one of Ireland's best known showjumpers, returns to the RDS to give a masterclass with Chrisophe Hess from Germany.

Macken, who is now based in Langley, British Columbia is a well known tutor and international horse dealer, along with his son Stevie.

Star of the show will be the 19-year old-iconic Bertram Allen, considered possibly to be the best showjumping rider in the world ever.

The Quaker educated son of a Wexford cattle dealer is renowned for his humility and ability to win week after week.

A crowd favourite and with a huge television following, two years ago he was leading rider of the show and this year he will be a mainstay of the Irish squad on home ground.

Belfast Telegraph