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McEntee flying high thanks to new backing from Ireland and Belgium


John McEntee

Banbridge European gold pony rider John McEntee has started the 2020 season with backing from international owners in Belgium and Ireland.

The Stuttgart, Paris and Lyon Pony Cup winner retired from ponies in December and moved into horses. He has now been supported with new horses from Stefan Conter of Stephex in Belgium and received horses from Irish international riders Marion Hughes and Dan Walsh.

John, the son of Alo and Louise McEntee, took his new owners' horses to Cavan last weekend and excelled in all classes. The Stephex-owned Hip Girl finished runner-up in the 1m 35 Spring Tour Grand Prix, having jumped double clear in both the 1m 30 and 1m 35 classes.

McEntee explained: "I am basing myself at home with the help of mum and dad, and aim to compete nationally and abroad.

"My main aim is to try for the Irish showjumping junior teams both in Europeans and Nations Cups this year.

"I am lucky to have such good owners in Stephex and Dan Walsh, who gave me Carry Grant and Wrenwood Lucy Seventeen, both jumping double clear in 1m 10 classes at Cavan.

"Marion Hughes' MHS New York also jumped double clear in the 1m 35 class."

Meanwhile, Ireland's Denis Lynch lies fourth in the European World Cup League after the 13th leg in Bordeaux, which was won by Steve Guerdat.

He intends to compete at the upcoming FEI World Cup finals in Las Vegas.

The current standings in the Western European League see Steve Guerdat on 93 points, Pieter Devos 83, Marcus Ehning 73, Lynch 64 and Daniel Desseur 62. Ireland's Darragh Kenny is in 14th on 45 points. It looks like Ireland will have both riders at the Las Vegas finals.

Derry's David Simpson and his wife Louise have both excelled at the Vilamoura International in Portugal.

Louise won the 1m 30 two phase class from 63 starters with Fiona VH, while David partnered Jenson 55 to third in the 1m 45 Jump-off class from 75 entries.

Ballyclare veteran Harry Marshall recorded second in Vilamoura with Kingdom Come in the speed class. Clement McMahon, with Legaland Team Spirit, was third in the seven-year-olds 1m 30 at Oliva, Valencia.

Cavan Equestrian Centre hosts the Children on Horses, Junior and Young Rider assessment day on February 19 from 11am with Showjumping High Performance Manager James Kernan, Crossmaglen.

Belfast Telegraph