IT is three out of three so far this year for German-bred winners at five-star level: fischerChipmunk FRH (Kentucky), London 52 (Badminton) and now Colero, for Switzerland’s Felix Vogg, at Luhmühlen.

Irish-breds again held their own last weekend in Germany’s sole five-star event with four horses featuring in the top-20: Cooley Quicksilver (fifth), SRS Kan Do (sixth), WSF Carthago (seventh) and Lukas (eighth).

Cooley Quicksilver’s top-five results follows on from his earlier prep run: a win in the Kentucky four-star with Elizabeth Sharp-Halliday. Last Sunday’s result for the Womanizer 11-year-old could not have happened at a more opportune time as the German event doubled up as the final U.S team selection trial for the FEI world eventing championships at Pratoni del Vivaro (September 15th-18th).

In Luhmühlen’s four-star section, which also doubled up as the German national championship, Highlighter (previously Ard Highlighter) was a winner here, resulting in yet another title for Michael Jung.

Dondante (Pacino x Euro Clover. Breeder: Francis Brennan) opened up the Irish-bred tally by finishing seventh at Kentucky in late April. At Badminton, Swallow Springs (Third. Chillout x Cult Hero. Breeder: Maria Keating), Vanir Kamira (Fourth. Camiro de Haar Z x Dixi. Kate Jackson), Ballaghmor Class (Fifth. Courage II. Noel Hickey), Colorado Blue (Eighth. Jaguar Mail x Rock King. Kate Jarvey) and Alfie’s Clover (10th. Tajraasi x Clover Hill. James Hickey), brought the total number of top-10 Irish-bred results so far this year, at five-star level, to 10.

Twenty of the 36 five-star starters completed Luhmühlen this year with Saturday’s cross-country proving extremely influential with 11 horses eliminated or retired. Just outside the top-10 was Cathal Daniels’ European individual bronze medallist mare here three years ago: Rioghan Rua (11th. Jack of Diamonds x Flagmount King. Breeder: Mags Kinsella).

Four more Irish-breds filled the top-20 including Fernhill Wishes (14th. Chacoa x Glidawn Diamond. Anna Kennedy), Regal Bounty (15th. Orestus x Senang Hati. Miriam de Feu), Guidam Roller (19th. Guidam Gold x High Roller. Gerard Callan) and Rubix Cube (20th. VDL Ricochet x Imperius. Sandra Hatton).

In the four-star section, headed by Highlighter, there were two more Irish-bred runners with Black Ice (Vechta x Touchdown. Breeder: Judith McClelland) finishing fifth for Germany’s Jerome Robine.

The third horse - Off The Record (VDL Arkansas x Ard Ohio. Peter G. Brady) was withdrawn after dressage in Will Coleman’s bid to repeat last year’s four-star win at Aachen CHIO.

Just one Irish-bred has won Luhmühlen in the past decade and that was Andrew Nicholson’s winning ride: Mr Cruise Control (Cruising x Broussard. Jenny McCann) nine years ago. Two more Irish-bred five-star winners here - also traditional-breds - are Tankers Town (Diamond Clover x Bulldozer. Mary Blundell) and Ringwood Cockatoo (Peacock x Skylark. Hilary Greer) that won for Sharon Hunt and Bettina Hoy in 2010 and 2005.

German studbooks are dominating the five-star winners podium so far in 2022, however with Irish-breds accounting for one in three of the top-10 prizewinners, it’s game on for the remainder of the season, plus a World championships in store.

2022 Luhmühlen Top-10 Bloodlines

Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp (USA) with Cooley Quicksilver at Turniergesellschaft Luhmühlen CCI5* The horse was the highest placed Irish-bred, finishing 5th \ Equus Pix Photography

1. Colero (WESTF). 14yo gelding by Captain Fire - Bonita, by Bormio xx. Breeder: Heinrich Schwert. Rider: Felix Vogg (SUI).

2. Classic VI (AES). 13yo mare by Calvaro F.C - India Summer. Breeder: Peter Charles. Rider: Kirsty Chabert (GB).

3. Faerie Dianimo (SHB(GB). 17yo mare by Dimaggio - Faerie Dazzler VII, by Catherston Dazzler. Breeder: Trisha Rickards. Rider: Jonelle Price (NZ).

4. Vermiculus (AA). 15yo gelding by Sazeram - Wake Me Gently. Breeder: Lawson Williams. Rider: Lauren Nicholson (USA).

5. Cooley Quicksilver (ISH). 11yo gelding by Womanizer (KWPN) - Kylemore Crystal, by Creggan Diamond (ID). Breeder: Alan O’Brien. Rider: Elizabeth Sharp-Halliday (USA).

6. SRS Kan Do (ISH). 12yo gelding by VDL Arkansas (KWPN) - La Vie En Rose, by Touchdown (ISH). Breeder: Michael Dooner. Rider: Kylie Roddy (GB).

7. WSF Carthago (ISH). 12yo gelding by Cobra - Enigma, by Viking (TB). Breeder: Francis Mulvihill. Rider: Fiona Cashel (GB).

8. Lukas (ISH). 11yo gelding by Lux Z (HANN) - Say Wonderful (TB), by Roi Danzig. Breeder: Louise Parkhill. Rider: Oliver Townend (GB).

9. Spartaco (MIPAAF). 11yo gelding by Nadir Di San Patrignano - Lucky Gilk Del Marganai, by Lucky Boy. Breeder: Pau Osvaldo. Rider: Tim Price (NZ).

10. Vitali (HOLST). 12yo gelding by Contender - Noble Lady, by Heraldik. Breeder: Guenther Fielmann. Rider: Tim Price (NZ).

10 Luhmühlen winners

2022 - Colero (WESTF).

2021 - Charly van ter Heiden (HANN)

2019 - Ascona M (HOLST)

2018 - Faerie Dianimo (SHB(GB)

2017 - Samourai Du Thot (SF)

2016 - It’s Me (TB)

2015 - FRH Escada JS (HANN)

2014 - Wesko (KWPN)

2013 - Mr Cruise Control (ISH) [TIH]

2012 - Leopin FST (SACHS)

Did you know ...

Cork's Mike Ryan and Claragh Mountain (ISH) competing at five-star 2022 Luhmuhlen \ Equus Pix Photography

  • Galway - 2, Monaghan - 1 are the current scores for the breeders of the highest-placed Irish-breds at this year’s five-star events. Maria Keating and Alan O’Brien (Galway) and Francis Brennan (Monaghan) top the leaderboard.
  • Half of the Luhmühlen five-star winners in the past decade are German-breds.
  • There was one thoroughbred winner in this timeframe: It’s Me (Kayhasi x Local Suitor), while three mares have won since 2012: Ascona M (Cassaro x Carpaccio), Faerie Dianimo (Dimaggion x Catherston Dazzler) and FRH Escada JS (Embassy I x Lehnsehrr).
  • Luhmühlen has hosted six European (1975, 1979, 1987, 1999, 2011 and 2019) and one world (1982) eventing championships in its history. Lucinda Green has the best championship record here with one world title (Regal Realm, 1982) and matching European gold medal (Be Fair, 1975).
  • Supreme Rock (Edmund Burke x Bassompierre. Lindy Nixon-Good) is the sole Irish-bred gold medal champion at the Luhmühlen-hosted European championships, winning in 1999 for Pippa Funnell.
  • Felix Vogg’s mentor Michael Jung won the first of his three European individual gold medals there in 2011 with La Biosthetique Sam FBW (Stan The Man x Heraldik. Günter Seiter). The same horse won Luhmühlen in 2009, the pair’s first four-star (now five-star) victory.
  • Sam The Man, by the same thoroughbred sire, won back-to-back national championships there in 1996 and 1997. Of otherwise unknown breeding, the Irish-bred and Bodo Battenberg were on the German eventing team at the Atlanta Olympics.
  • Natal, the Portuguese word for Christmas, is also the name of a Brazilian city, famous for15 kilometres of beaches; a South African region, said to be first discovered on Christmas Day in 1497 by Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama and Highlighter’s Holsteiner sire.
  • Alex Donohoe with Guidam Roller (IRL) in action at Turniergesellschaft Luhmühlen CCI5* 2022 \ Equus Pix Photography

    What they said

    “I’m so proud and excited to have bred such a brilliant horse. One of my proudest moments as a breeder.”

    Alan O’Brien, breeder of highest-placed Irish-bred Cooley Quicksilver.

    “I bought the dam [La Vie En Rose] in Goresbridge as a foal from Patrick Smyth, Granard, because I was impressed by her bloodline and scope. VDL Arkansas was chosen to complement her bloodline and the minute I saw SRS Kan Do as a foal, I knew he would be a superstar. He just had it all: scope, size and athletic paces.

    I sold him in Goresbridge and have been watching his amazing progress through the years.

    It makes all the long journeys to the stallions, the large vet bills, the sleepless nights, etc. all worthwhile when you see them grow into superstars. He is doing something he loves and has a great passion for. Proud breeder moment indeed.”

    Michael Dooner, SRS Kan Do’s breeder.

    “He represented Ireland in the World Breeding Championships as a five-year-old and also as a six-year-old. His mother Enigma was by Viking (USA), a thoroughbred owned by my friend and former Norwegian international showjumper Arne Karlsen. The grandam was Eagle Z, who was by Sultan, the sire of Geoff Billington’s It’s Otto. So plenty of good breeding there.”

    Frank Mulvihill, who bred WSF Carhago, the third of top-three Irish-breds.

    “I hope this will “highlight” the need for name protection. Money can buy a horse but you can see by the breeding of Ard Highlighter, no money could make up for my life’s work to end up with this horse on the scene.”

    Heather Dean-Wright, breeder of the four-star winner (Ard) Highlighter.