Irish eyes were smiling as a busy day of showjumpong action began at the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show on Friday.
Ireland’s Peter Moloney landed himself a £7,360 cheque by capturing the two star 1.45 metre two-phase class, sponsored by Watts Commercial Finance, in thrilling fashion on D’atlantique Royale.
The combination clocked a time of 26.92 seconds, which proved more than half a second quicker than the rest of a high-class field could manage.
Britain’s Matt Sampson, whose brilliant song to Bolesworth organiser Nina Barbour asking for an entry to the show proved a huge hit on social media, almost struck a perfect note on Jaguar Vd Berghoeve, but he had to settle for second in 27.74 seconds, while Ireland’s Michael Pender was third aboard Casanova Van Overis Z.
The Whitaker showjumping dynasty claimed an immediate win as Friday’s action unfolded, with Louise Whitaker landing the two-star accumulator class, sponsored by AC Jackson.
Riders gain points for each fence jumped, with 65 the maximum score, and all ties on that total are then separated by time, and it was Whitaker who came out on top, clocking 52.59 seconds for victory.
The runners-up spot went to Alex Rident, on Come Back, with Cleveland’s Millie Allen taking third aboard Lowellie.
The international arena action began with amateur riders taking centre-stage in two-phase classes, and there was double British success in the amateur B 1.15 metre two-phase, sponsored by Cazenove Capital Management, and the amateur A 1.25 metre two-phase, sponsored by Irish Horse Gateway.
Stacey Willsone and Steady the Helm proved the winning combination in amateur B, posting a time of 27.44 seconds as the top three finishers were separated by just 44 hundredths of a second.
Molly Andrews and Renkum Aristocrat finished second, with Tony Pearson – a winner on Thursday – filling third spot on Amadeus M.
And the amateur A class went to Pollyanna Gredley, riding Unex Arantos, whose time of 34.43 seconds saw her home by more than half a second from Flo Norris and Imago Vd Heffinck, while Sarah Billington and Uforia Jx – another podium finisher on Thursday – was third.