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Teen Derwin 'thrilled' by cruising win at Balmoral

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In control: Kate Derwin toasted victory on board Whiterock Cruise Down

In control: Kate Derwin toasted victory on board Whiterock Cruise Down

Kate Derwin

Kate Derwin

In control: Kate Derwin toasted victory on board Whiterock Cruise Down

Teenager Kate Derwin rocked the main arena at Balmoral Park Championship Horse show when she galloped to victory in the €12,000 Horsesport Ireland Premier 1.50m Grand Prix.

The grand finale of two days jumping saw the 18-year-old Athlone ace clear the final fence from a 13 horse jump-off to win in 39.84 with her dad Francis Derwin's AHG Whiterock Cruise Down. It was a thrilling finish to the show as the event was livestreamed by HSI globally, exhibiting a strong track built by John Doyle and Rafael Suarez.

Derwin, who also finished fifth on her uncle Jim's Deep Pockets, said: "I am thrilled, this has been a phenomenal weekend, Whiterock Cruise Down never put a foot wrong.

"Dad always had high hopes for him, keeping him for me all these years, and it has paid off. I couldn't have asked for a better course, better ground, it was fantastic to come out on top. It's my first visit here but for sure I am coming back.

"It is easy to follow Covid rules when shows like this follow the guidelines so well, there is plenty of space. I've never seen a spot like it."

Praising the team that organised Balmoral Park, show director Ray Buchanan said: "We had two fantastic days of competition, three arenas, 81 horses stabled on site and many entries.

"All riders completed their test and trace Covid app, and thanks to our Covid healthcare team who patrolled the show and to everyone who made this event possible."

Mickey Pender gave another polished performance to take second in the Grand Prix on HHS Calais, owned by Marion Hughes. The stylist gave chase in 41.32, with third place going to Capt Geoff Curran and Glengarra Wood, owned by the Minister for Defence, in 42.39.

Max Wachman, with Coolmore's Lazzaro delle Schiave, was on his way to glory with a winning time of 38.95 but plummeted to ninth with a fence down.

The highly rated Fintona rider Jenny Rankin partnered the Dutch-owned Stal Hendrix stallion Entertainer for fourth place with a collected clear in 43.03 ahead of Katie Derwin, Tim Macdonagh and Jonathan Smyth - who had earlier been runner-up in the 1.40 Grand Prix won by Derek McConnell.

The 1.35m Ulster Grand Prix was won by Bennettsbridge rider Ger O'Neill on Sharon and Susan Fitzpatrick's Keatingstown Z Wellie, winning from a 14 horse jump off in 38.78.

Max Wachman on Houdini Van de Djik was stalking O'Neill with a runner up time of 38.88, while his colleague Jan Distel for Coolmore Jumping finished third in 39.82. A delighted O'Neill commented: "I jumped the horse last year in the Hickstead Derby, I intend to jump the 1m 50 Grand Prix next at Barnadown show. Susan Fitzpatrick produced him to high level and I was lucky to be given the ride on him."

Cora Sharkey (18), winner of the five-year-old final with Whiterock Duggie, owned by her father Joseph, is a new kid on the block with talent. She took second in the five-year-old qualifier with Duggie behind Kenneth Graham on Tullabeg George and won the six-year-old qualifier with Lisboy Mermus.

"I compete five competition horses and am based at home in Roscommon, where I am trained by my father," she explained. "This is a lovely show and I have had a good season."

The seven-year-old champion was John McEntee with the Marion Hughes owned HHS Vancouver, who topped the class in 41.75, beating Dean Rogan with Declan McGarry's De L'Oiseliere 42.02 and Clement McMahon 43.63 on Legaland Team Spirit, owned by Gary McNamara.

Cian O'Connor steered Claude Monet to win the six-year-old finals and took third with Mangoon behind Brendan Murphy with Ja Belle Stability.

Monaghan rider Sheikh Samir Mirdad tasted victory in two finals, riding Fareeedat Alrahmaaan to win the 1m 10 seniors and the 1m final with Hubbb Aaashaaa.

Belfast Telegraph