Offaly’s Darragh Kenny (31) posted a massive result when winning yesterday’s €500,000 Rolex Grand Prix with the 13-year-old stallion Balou du Reventon at Knokke in Belgium where Irish riders were on fire.
The man from Belmont in Offaly claimed a brand new Audi Q7 worth €93,000 along with over €71,000 in prizemoney when pipping reigning individual world champions, Germany’s Simone Blum and her brilliant mare Alice DSP, in a six-way jump-off. And cementing a superb Irish week at the 5-Star fixture, Wexford’s Bertram Allen (23) finished third with Harley vd Bisschop while Louth’s Mark McAuley (32) steered Valentino Tuiliere into sixth place.
McAuley had a fence down when first to go against the clock, and then Blum set what seemed an impossible target when scorching through the finish in 42.65 seconds to throw it down to the rest. Allen gave it his best shot, breaking the beam in 42.96 but, last to go, Kenny clinched it when racing across the line in 42.17 seconds.
He had already won Saturday’s 3-Star Grand Prix with Sweet Tricia and his consist form throughout the week saw him take the Leading International Rider title ahead of Allen in second place.
Kenny is enjoying a purple patch, winning all before him including the Commonwealth Grand Prix at Kentucky a few weeks ago and he collected €122,000 for runner-up spot in the Global Champions Tour at Shanghai partnering Ann Thompson’s Balou du Reventon last month. Along with US rider Hardin Towell, the Irishman operates Oaklands Stables which has bases in both Holland and Florida specialising in rider training and horse sales.
Meanwhile Irish dressage got another big boost at the weekend with great results at the 4-Star CDI in Fritzens-Schindlhof, Austria where Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K finished third behind World No. 1 and German legend, Isabell Werth, in both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special. Anna Merveldt and her new ride, the Esporim, lined up eighth and ninth in each class.
The result is timely as Reynolds and Merveldt will join 12-time Irish national champion Heike Holstein on the Irish team at the FEI Dressage Nations Cup in Aachen, Germany next month. Ireland will also field a dressage team at the 2019 FEI European Championships in Rotterdam in August where qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is up for grabs.
Grand Prix Special – 1, Bella Rose (I Werth) GER 81.511; 2, Gut Wettkam’s Stand (L Muller) GER 77.106; 3, Vancouver K (J Reynolds) IRL 73.511; 8, Esporim (A Merveldt) IRL 70.255.
Grand Prix – 1, Bella Rose (I Werth) GER 82.957; 2, Gut Wettkam’s Stand (L Muller) GER 75.478; 3, Vancouver K (J Reynolds) IRL 75.000; 9, Esporim (A Merveldt) IRL 69.761.
Rolex 5-Star Grand Prix – 1, Balou du Reventon (D Kenny) IRL 0/0 42.17; 2, DSP Alice (S Blum) GER 0/0 42.65; 3, Harley Vd Bisschop (B Allen) IRL 0/0 42.96; 4, Royce (M Goldstein-Engle) USA 0/0 44.60; 5, H&M Chilli Willi (N Philippaerts) BEL 0/0 45.37; 6, Valentino Tuiliere (M McAuley) IRL 0/4 45.25.
3-Star Grand Prix – 1, Sweet Tricia (D Kenny) 0/0 40.75; 2, Faithless (K Jochems) NED 0/0 41.02; 3, Abrisco V (P Flam) NOR 1/0 48.69.
Prijs Knokke Heist 1.50m – 1, Halifax (L de Luca) ITA 0/0 41.77; 2, Calisto Blue (D Deusser) GER 0/0 42.38; 3, Jenson (N Bruynseels) BEL 0/0 44.21; 4, Dieu Merci (F Vernaet) BEL 0/0 45.00; 5, Chaqui Z (S Sweetnam) IRL 0/0 45.34.
Prijs Vlaanderen 5-Star 1.40m – 1, Steyburn (P Moloney) IRL 0/0 23.30; 2, Engerupgaards Cezanne (M McAuley) IRL 0/0 23.50; 3, Gin Duidam (F Vernaet) BEL 0/0 23.60; 4, Diego (C O’Connor) IRL 0/0 24.23.
La Reserve 1.50m Speed – 1, Vintage de la Roque (D Hendrickx) BEL 0/58.24; 2, GK Caspar (B Allen) IRL 0/60.28; 3, Irenice Horta (C O’Connor) IRL 0/60.32.
STX Horseboxes 5-Star 1.45m Speed – 1, Billy Dorito (D Kenny) IRL 0/59.59; 2, Hello Diamant (F Mathy Jr) BEL 0/59.62; 3, Seawillow (P Cordon) ESkP 0/61.33.
Artemide 5-Star 1.45 Two-Phase – 1, Koriano (D Hendrickx) BEL 0/0 23.30; 2, Diego (C O’Connor) IRL 0/0 23.36; 3, Cochello (P Bucci) ITA 0/0 23.96; 4, Billy Dorito (D Kenny) IRL 0/0 24.45.
Eland 5-Star 1.40m Speed – 1, Gin Duidam (F Vernaet) BEL 0/56.38; 2, Quatinka (D Kenny) IRL 0/58.03; 3, Go to Fortuna (B Allen) IRL 0/58.80.