Plusvital 1.55m Grand Prix \ Emer Bermingham

KILKENNY had more to celebrate on Sunday as young rider Seamus Hughes Kennedy rode to victory in the €15,000 Plusvital-sponsored Grand Prix. From the 34 starters, just two clears were delivered and both came from young riders.

Taking the win after the two-way jump-off was Hughes Kennedy with the Clare Hughes-owned Cuffesgrange Cavadora. The partnership had one down against the clock in a time of 38.83 seconds. Bred by Eamonn Sheehan, the 10-year-old mare is by Z Wellie 72 out of the Luidam-sired Cuffesgrange Cavalidam who competed on the pony circuit in the 148cm division under Seamus and won European gold in 2019 with Max Wachman.

Speaking afterwards, Hughes Kennedy said: “I’m delighted to win the 1.55-1.60m Plusvital Grand Prix at the Breeders’ Classic here at Barnadown. Course designer Rafael Suarez built a testing, technical track with a tight time allowed resulting in only Niamh McEvoy and I going clear in the first round. The plan for the jump-off was just to keep a nice rhythm and luckily it worked out today. Big thanks to Ger O’Neill and the HK team, it’s nice to win a Grand Prix of this nature on home soil. We have had some great results internationally this season, with placings in Vejer, winning the Young Rider Grand Prix in Hagen and competing at the Europeans in Oliva.

“We missed out competing at the Millstreet International show as she was being flushed and an embryo by Dominator was transferred to a surrogate mare – fingers crossed it works out. Over the last few seasons, we have been taking embryos from her and it’s now nice to say that she has competed and won at 1.60m.

“Having said all that, show jumping is a very tight knit community and the very sad news that filtered back to Barnadown Saturday evening cast a surreal shadow here. I would like to extend my sincerest condolences to the de Bromhead family, despite being only 13 years old, Jack was a light that shone far and wide.”

This year, Seamus, who has taken a gap year before going to college, has been competing on the European circuit, taking in shows in Olivia, Hagen, Opglabbeek and Vejer de la Frontera. In Hagen, they claimed the 1.45m Grand Prix and were part of the Nations Cup team that finished in sixth place.

Fellow young rider Niamh McEvoy also had one on the ground with Olivia De Muze N, but in a slower time of 39.34 for second place. Owned by GBBS Int Ltd, the eight-year-old mare by EL Torreo De Muze is out of Hapache De Verby. Barnadown has proved to be a happy hunting ground for this partnership, having qualified for Dublin Horse Show here earlier in the year.

Three riders were denied their place against the clock after clocking up a single time fault. Fastest of those was Dermott Lennon and the Eamon Bishop-owned L’Esprit Hero Z in 79.53.

Local rider Abigail Boland was also caught out by the clock, coming home in 80.49 aboard Quentin K for eventual fourth. Another local hopeful pair, Patrick Hickey and the Jeremy Sweetnam-owned Genepi Des Mansarts, kept the poles in place, but their time of 80.66 saw them take fifth place. Nicholas Butler had no problem making the time allowed in the first round with Ladycastle Paco, but four faults in a time of 75.54 saw them slot into sixth place.