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Raring to go: Lisburn’s Clare Abbott is a contender in theCIC3* Class

Raring to go: Lisburn’s Clare Abbott is a contender in theCIC3* Class

SPORTSFILE

Raring to go: Lisburn’s Clare Abbott is a contender in theCIC3* Class

Ireland's top riders will enter this week's Tattersalls International Horse Trials in County Meath with a twin aim.

As well as attempting to end Great Britain's dominance of the feature class at the event which is Ireland's equivalent to the Badminton Horse trials, they will be hoping to impress the Irish Olympic selectors as this summer's Games in Rio loom.

Among them is Lisburn schoolteacher Clare Abbott, who is tipped to be a contender in the George Mernagh Memorial CIC3* Class, but all eyes will be on the Irish Field CCI3 Star Class.

Each of the last five winners of the CCI3 Class have been British riders and both Ireland and Australia have plans to buck that trend when the action gets under way tomorrow.

Sarah Ennis, who will ride Horseware Stellor Rebound, lives within just a few miles of the venue in Ratoah, a short trot from Fairhouse Racecourse, and has had an impressive year. She will start as one of the favourites for the big prize, which will be run over Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

At 39th, Aoife Clark is Ireland's highest ranked rider in the world and together with Ennis and Padraig McCarthy, there are hopes that Ireland could claim all three positions on the podium.

That won't be easy though as GB have former World and European champion Zara Tindall, the Queen's granddaughter, in their ranks.

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Abbott and her mount Euro Prince will also have Clark and McCarthy as team-mates in what is expected to be a hotly contested CIC3* Class.

In all, over 300 riders from nine countries will take part over the five days.

Event Coordinator Amber Byrne said: "The three star Classes have attracted the crème de la crème of the Evening world, but the other competitions are equally as competitive.

"We have amateur and professional riders and it is an opportunity for them to compete on home turf against and alongside the best in the world."


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