MICHAEL Murphy is the new number one ranked para dressage rider in Grade I and number four in the world in the latest Longines FEI World ranking.
The 25-year-old England-based rider became the first Irish para dressage athlete to win a medal at a World Championships when he won double bronze in Herning, Denmark last month which has helped him rise from number six to the top of the Grade I rankings.
Murphy, who works full-time as an environmental advisor to a construction company, was born with a rare condition called Dejerine-Sottas and rides in walk only. Having made his Paralympic debut in Tokyo last summer, his bronze medals in Herning came aboard the 15-year-old Vivaldi gelding Cleverboy.
In the overall rankings, Murphy has jumped 23 places from rank 27th to be fourth in the world. Belgium’s Grade V rider Michèle George is the world number one with 1,553 points, ahead of The Netherlands’ Sanne Voets (1,537), who rides in the highest Grade IV. Britain’s Sophie Wells, also Grade V, has moved up two places to be ranked third in the world.
In the show jumping rankings, Co Down’s Conor Swail remains fourth in the world in the latest list, however, on 2,895 points, he is edging ever closer to third-ranked Peder Fredricson (2,923). The newly crowned world champion, Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann remains the world number one for the second month in a row.
Despite giving birth to her second child in August, Germany’s Olympic champion Jessica von Bredow-Werndl remains as the highest ranked dressage rider in the world with TSF Dalera BB, ahead of Denmark’s Cathrine Laudrup-Dufour and Vamos Amigos. The dressage rankings are based on horse and rider combinations. Britain’s double gold medallist from the World Championships, Lottie Fry, has jumped up to seventh with her Herning hero Glamourdale.
In eventing, it’s a British one-two-three at the top of the rankings, led by Oliver Townend. Last weekend’s Burghley winner Piggy French moved up to be ranked second last month, ahead of Tom McEwen. Susie Berry is the highest ranked Irish rider in 31st.