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On top: Sophie Dalm on Fastday VDL after her 1.45 Speed Class win in Bonheiden

On top: Sophie Dalm on Fastday VDL after her 1.45 Speed Class win in Bonheiden

On top: Sophie Dalm on Fastday VDL after her 1.45 Speed Class win in Bonheiden

Showjumping young guns from Belfast, Banbridge and Omagh have shown their class by claiming huge success in Belgium and Cavan.

Belfast ace Sophie Dalm gained Longines world ranking points after winning the Bonheiden 1.45 Speed Class in Belgium, while Banbridge brother and sister John and Emma McEntee took two major classics at the Cavan Champions of the Year where the former was leading young rider.

In addition, Omagh's Niamh McEvoy and Banbridge rider Alex Finney joined Ryan Swetnam (Timoleague) and Jack Brennan (Kilkenny) to win the FEI Pony Nations Cup at Sentower Park in Belgium.

Sophie, based with the Zanotelli/Augustsson team, partnered Fastday VDL to victory from 63 starters. She explained: "Fastday is naturally very quick and careful so we kept up the speed throughout. I am delighted to get world ranking points."

John McEntee not only won the Cavan 1.35m Grand Prix from 67 entries after going fastest in a four-horse jump-off, he also took runner-up to Kate Derwin on Deep Pockets in the 1.40m Grand Prix from 57 starters. Hip Girl won the 1.35m Speed Class.

He said: "She has been consistent all year and was in top form at Cavan."

Emma McEntee, with MHS New York - owned by Marion and Miguel Bravo - put in an outstanding display to win the Cavan Champions Hankook Six and Seven-year-old Classic.

Delighted Emma said: "It was a great feeling to win such a prestigious class. I have been riding the horse since last August."

Joe Reynolds, chairman of Horsesport Ireland, praised the Irish pony team following their Nations Cup success.

"Hats off to them. They have shown they are at the forefront of competition at the highest level in Europe," he said.

The team of Swetnam, Brennan, McEvoy and Finney finished on a score of eight, with Netherlands and Germany in second (16 faults), Belgium fourth and Italy fifth.

Both McEvoy and John McEntee, part of the pony European gold team last year, were nominated for prizes at the 2019 Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards.

Belfast Telegraph