We’re like an unstoppable train, another weekend of extraordinary results and so much talent emerging at all levels of Irish equestrian sport. The biggest news of course was Kate Derwin’s superb Junior European individual gold medal – and what a way to celebrate it, singing our National Anthem with such pride at Zuidwolde – goooo Kate!!
Kate Derwin from Athlone in Westmeath became only the fourth Irish rider in the 60-year history of the Junior European Showjumping Championships to win gold when coming out on top in a nail-biting finish at Zuidwolde, Holland yesterday.
And it was a story of complete determination, as the 17-year-old daughter of one of Ireland’s best-known horse dealers, Jim Derwin, was deeply committed having missed out on a podium placing at last year’s event in Fontainebleau, France where Carlow’s Jason Foley came out on top and she had to settle for fourth place.
“I knew by her all week, she was so disappointed last year and she was completely focused this time around – she had winner written all over her from the start!” said Chef d’Equipe James Kernan who was Ireland’s very first Junior European Champion partnering the great mare, Marcella, back in 1974 in Lucerne, Switzerland. Brian McMahon steered the legendary Heather Honey to victory in Brussels two years later but Ireland had to wait 42 more years before Foley made it a hat-trick last summer.
Derwin always looked threatening, lining up third in Wednesday’s opening Speed class with her brilliant 10-year-old Irish-bred gelding AHG Whiterock Cruise Down, and jumping five clear rounds to take the title.
She joined Jack Ryan (Essenar High Hopes), Ciaran Nallon (Cloe GP Z) and Harry Allen (Dancing Queen Z) to take team bronze on Friday and was overnight leader as the individual two-round final got underway yesterday. Last to go in the deciding round and with only the narrowest of leads she could afford no mistake, but she kept a super-cool head to win through ahead of Spain’s Maya De la Joya Fernandez Longoria in silver and Belgium’s Thibeau Spits in bronze.
“My horse jumped phenomenal last year and this year he came out and gave it even more!” said Derwin who proudly sang the Irish national anthem during the prize-giving ceremony.
Meanwhile senior rider Darragh Kenny’s (31) run of phenomenal form continued with victory with Balou du Reventon in Saturday’s Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Chantilly, France. First to go in the six-horse jump-off he couldn’t be caught despite a speed-wobble coming down the final line.
The Offalyman, who won the €500,000 Rolex Grand Prix in Knokke, Belgium two weeks ago, has earned €285,290 so far this GCT season.
Global Champions Tour Grand Prix – 1, Balou du Reventon (D Kenny) IRL 0/0 37.24; 2, Vancouver de Lanlore (P Leprevost) FRA 0/0 38.08; 3, H&M Chilli Willi (N Philippaerts) BEL 0/0 38.13.
1.45m Speed – 1, Balou Rubin R (P Schwizer) SUI 0/65.75; 2, Miebello (M McAuley) IRL 0/66.05; 3, Fador (E Aznar) ESP 0/66.64.
Junior European Individual Championship – 1, AHG Whitrock Cruise Down (K Derwin) IRL 1.26; 2, Un Lord du Rozel (M Del a Joya Fernandez Longoria) ESP 1.70; 3, Bellissimo Z (T Spits) BEL 4.00.
Junior European Team Championship – 1, Spain 14.24; 2, Germany 15.79; 3, Ireland 18.00 – Essenar High Hopes (J Ryan), Cloe GP Z (C Nallon), Dancing Queen Z (H Allen), AHG Whiterock Cruise Down (K Derwin).
TRM/New Heights Grand Prix – 1, MHS Jersey Girl (J Brennan) 0/0 48.18; 2, Billy Guilder (E Doyle Jr) 0/0 51.71; 3, KMS Clintland (N Healy) 1/0 63.6.
Underwriting Exchange National Grand Prix – 1, Freedam (A O’Regan) 0/0 40.6; 2, Wrangler (S Goggins) 0/0 40.86; 3, Montreal van de Kleinheide (T O’Brien) 0/0 40.99.
Junior European Eventing Team Championship – 1, Germany 87.0; 2, Great Britain 97.2; 3, France 99.7, 4, Ireland 105.9.
Young Riders European Team Championship – 1, Great Britain 111.0; 2, France 114.1; 3, Netherlands 171.1; 4, Ireland 214.6.