It was a gainful day for Banbridge international Dermott Lennon at the Stena Line Dublin Horse Show as he finished runner up to colleague Shane Breen in the Clayton Hotel Speed Derby with his 15-year-old gelding Vampire.
Breen, with Can Ya Makan owned by Sheikha Maita from Dubai, daughter of Sheik Mohammed, won the Clayton Hotel Speed Derby from 23 starters closely chased by Co Down rider Lennon, who is proving a force to be reckoned with this week.
Yesterday, Lennon announced that Newry company MJM had purchased a new international horse for him, MJM Pursuit, formerly Mullabrack Royal Pride, which excelled at this year's Balmoral Show.
"I am delighted to have three great horses in Dublin," he said, after missing out by 1.59 seconds in the Speed Derby.
"I couldn't catch Shane Breen in the Speed Derby, we tried hard but Shane was quicker.
"On a good day Vampire can beat anyone, but Shane was faster. Vampire is fantastic and I couldn't have asked more of him."
Lennon is aiming towards the €200,000 Grand Prix of Ireland on Sunday and will take Gelvin's Touch, a top class horse by Touchdown and owned by Victoria Loane from Kesh.
"Victoria has had him since he was three and I was delighted with him in the Stablelad Stakes. I am very lucky to have MJM of Newry buy me MJM Pursuit and I am pleased with her first Dublin Show performances this week."
Third in the Speed Derby was GB rider Holly Smith on her Irish-bred mare Quality Old Joker ahead of three Irish riders Shane Sweetnam, Greg Broderick and Daniel Coyle.
The Stablelab Stakes saw Ireland dominate again with Nations Cup rider Shane Sweetnam winning the €50,400 class after a stunning jump off with the fastest of the 11 clears in 39.21.
Ardee man Mark McAuley, now living in Switzerland, galloped into second place a fraction behind Sweetnam on Jasco VD Bisschop in 39.80. Cameron Hanley's dependable and scopey EIS Isaura was a close third in 39.95.
Pony rider Niamh McEvoy from Omagh showed her class to win for a second day in the hotly contested 148cm pony qualifiers with the brilliant Fireman owned by her mother Maeve. She beat Orla Duffy on Atlanta, just ahead of Fintona's Ellen Thompson with Sligo Little James. Banbridge's Charlotte Houston added to the excitement taking fourth with Toscane Davnir, owned by her mother Joanne.
Dromara producer Desmond Gibson was unstoppable as he won both two-year-old gelding classes with Greenhall Treasure Island and Action Man, taking champion and reserve champion for the RDS Challenge cups. Belfast's Dorothy Walsh and Clover Choice were runners up to Action Man ahead of Armagh's Ruth Brown with Maximus.
Crossgar estate agent Tim Martin's Superior Choice was runner-up in the lightweight three-year-olds, changing places with Desmond Gibson who was third and fourth with Last Orders and Kingsley.
Coagh breeder Jim Dallas with Ballinderry Watermill and Ruth Brown's Hot Dotty were both placed in the three-year-olds.
The Longines FEI Nations Cup of Ireland for the Aga Khan trophy starts at 3pm today, with live coverage starting from 1.45pm on RTE 1 television.
Friday's main arena events start at 8am with the 138cm national championship, followed at 9am by the 148 final. The International seven and eight-year-old second round is at 10.15am with a 1.10pm start for the Inspection of the Course for the Nations Cup.
At 2.40pm the parade of champions precedes the Nations Cup with the 128cms National Championship following at 7.05pm.
The Irish Aga Khan team, sponsored by Devenish and The Underwriting Exchange: Shane Sweetnam with Main Road - owned by Sweet Oak Farm and Seabrook LLC; Mark McAuley with Utchan De Belheme - owned by Charlotte McAuley; Paul O'Shea with Skara Glen's Machu Picchu - owned by Skara Glen Stables, Whipstick Farm, P. Hurter & Cameron Hanley with Quirex - owned by Patrick Mielnik.
7 and 8 Year olds LHK Insurance: 1 Paul Estermann SWI Anaba Haize 0-65.91; 2 Daniel Coyle IRE Legacy 0-65.96; 3 Gemma Phelan IRE GRC Acapella 0-66.66
Three Year Old Potential Event Horse: 1 Brian Daly, Newmarket Marley 118; 2 Willie McDonnell, Pallas Cobra 117; 3 S Kelliher and Seamus Casey Balous Delight
Longines FEI Jumping Nations' Cup of Ireland, teams Running Order following draw: 1 Italy; 2 Great Britain; 3 Switzerland; 4 Netherlands; 5 France; 6 Mexico; 7 USA; 8 Ireland
The Clayton Hotel Speed Derby: 1 Shane Breen IRE Can Ya Makan 0-80.85; 2 Dermott Lennon IRE Vampire 0-82.44; 3 Holly Smith GB Quality Old Joker 0-83.88
Four year old HSI Young Event Horse: 1 Jason Higgins, Ogue Special 89.92 137.12; 2 Ita McDermott, Emerald Emoe 88.38 147.62; 3 Colin Halliday, Rosalent 83.28 146.22
Five year old Event Horse: 1 Aoife Quigley, Kilcandra Vanessa 84.88 138.93; 2 Linda Murphy, Castle Howard Romeo 84.18 143.78; 3 Sara Ennis, Stellor Quick Change 83.32 145.75
Small Event Horse: 1 Linda Murphy, Sam Salad 88.17 145.62; 2 Christine O'Donnell, Metalbridge Liath 85.08 135.48; 3 Ann Lambert, Goran Allo 84,25 138.02
128 Ponies, Simmonscourt: 1 Jack Conlon Gateau, Blaengwen Kato Star 0-0 34.91; 2 Camryn Clarke, It's Only Money 0-0 38.13; 3 Robert Russell, Kilcreene Apollo 0-0 38,69
148cms Pony,Simmonscourt: 1 Niamh McEvoy, Fireman 0-0 40.09; 2 Orla Duffy, Atlanta 0-0 41.48; 3 Ellen Thompson, Sligo Little James 0-0 44.70
Stablelab Stakes International: 1 Shane Sweetnam IRE,Indra Van De Oude Heihoef 0-0 39.21; 2 Mark McAuley IRE, Jasco 0-0 39.80; 3 Cameron Hanley IRE EIS Isaura 0-0 39.95
138 ponies Simmonscourt: 1 Max Foley, Mayfly Green Peter 0-0 34.28; 2 Alice Power, Bear Me in Mind 0-0 34.50; 3 Annie Gibson, Woodfield Superstar 0-0 39.07
Five Year old: 1 Gerard O'Neil, Castlefield Mathilda 0-0 43.39; 2 Mickey Pender, MHS New York 0-0 43.98;3 Tim Page, Hillcoote Border Fox 0-0 44.35