Magnificent five-star Grand Prix victory for Breen
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Another clear round from second Emirati driver Hamad Ali Al Kirbi kept them four faults before Jack Ryan entered the arena for his second lap. Just as he did on lap one, the Kilkenny rider and ‘BBS McGregor’ jumped an exceptional lap to complete a double clear performance.
Ali Hamad Al Kirbi produced another clear round for the United Arab Emirates as the third to play in the second round, meaning the home side would finish on a two round total of just four fouls, with three clear rounds. fault in the second round. Ireland needed a clear round from one of their two remaining runners to claim victory and they first took advantage when David Simpson produced a brilliant double clear round with ‘Foudre F’, meaning that Ireland could not be beaten.
Horse Sport Ireland CEO Denis Duggan said: “Congratulations to Michael Blake and his team of Shane Breen, Jack Ryan, David Simpson and Trevor Breen on their brilliant victory in the UAE Nations Cup. It was truly an excellent performance – a great start to the season and caps off a superb weekend, where Ireland won both the Grand Prix competitions and the Nations Cup.
Irish team manager Michael Blake last week signed a new contract with Horse Sport Ireland for the Olympic cycle until 2024 and, after a tough battle in Abu Dhabi, was delighted to guide his side to victory.
“The UAE really kept the pressure on us. I would not have imagined this morning that it would take six clear rounds to win it! Blake commented.
“We have competed here four times and had three second place finishes, but I felt this competition was ours to lose today and we were the best team here, although I didn’t see the UAE come that strong. than them – it just shows how show jumping is growing in this region,” added Blake.
Speaking of Jack Ryan, who was only competing in his second senior Nations Cup, Michael Blake said: “He was part of the winning team at Vilamoura (POR) last year so he won two out of two , it’s impressive !” said Blake. He has a long association with the young man from Inistioge in County Kilkenny, Ireland.
“I was at my first championship with Jack when he was just 11 years old competing in Children on Horses, and it’s very special that he’s riding a horse bred here today,” Blake said.
‘BBS McGregor’, bred in Kilkenny by Jack Ryan’s mother Marguerite, is a horse with a story, recovering from a serious injury early in his life.
“We bred him ourselves and as a yearling he got very sick because we believe he was hit in the head by another horse while he was out in the field. He broke down physically and we couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him – he was just disappearing. But he had a bump on his nose and on the x-ray it looks like a dent came through the roof of his mouth when he was kicked and he couldn’t eat because of the pain. He’s doing so much better now and it’s great to see him so well and having fun in the ring,” explained Jack Ryan.
The first five-star International Grand Prix of the 2022 season went to Ireland after a superb Friday morning performance from Tipperary’s Shane Breen saw him win the €150,000 Longines United Arab Emirates Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi with ‘Z7 Ipswich’ .
One of nine combinations to qualify for the jump-off, Breen rode a magnificent second lap clear on the penultimate start, stopping the clock in 36.68 seconds to take the lead. It looked like Sweden’s world No. 4 Henrik von Eckermann and ‘Glamour Girl’ had taken the win by crossing the line in a faster time (34.45) when they were last to go, but a late pole the dropped to fourth place, leaving Breen victorious.
Horse Sport Ireland CEO Denis Duggan said: “Congratulations to Shane Breen and his owners, the Z7 team, on the fantastic victory with ‘Z7 Ipswich’ in the Longines Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi. It’s a great start to the season for Ireland to win the first five-star Grand Prix of 2022 and I also wish Michael Blake and his entire team the best of luck in Sunday’s FEI Nations Cup.
BBS McGregor (ISH) – 2012 gelding by Cardento (HOLST), out of Random Chance (ISH) by Mark Twain (VG) bred and owned by Marguerite Ryan, Co. Kilkenny, ridden by Jack Ryan.