‘It’s a good day to be Irish’: new world young horse champions are crowned

  • Irish showjumpers completed a remarkable hat-trick in the five-year-old final at the FEI WBFSH World Breeding Championships for Young Horses at Lanaken in Belgium on Sunday (16 September).

    Richard Howley and the Irish Sport Horse Uppercourt Cappucino won gold, with his fellow countryman Darragh Ryan on CSF Sir George (Sir Shutterfly x Cavalier Royale) taking silver. Michael Pender on HHS Vancouver (Indoctro x Don Juan De La Bouverie) sealed a fantastic result for the Irish Sport Horse studbook by claiming the bronze medal in a hard-fought final.

    The new world champion Uppercourt Cappucino was bred by Paul O’Byrne and is by the great stallion Pacino out of Uppercourt Posh, by OBOS Quality 004. Richard bought him from Ger O’Neill and Jason Higgins after a show in Millstreet.

    “Jason had produced the horse as a four-year-old and I bought him at the back end of this year,” said Richard. “He [Uppercourt Cappucino] has only done a handful of shows in his life, but the horse is so mature in his mind he is just like riding an eight-year-old. It’s a good day for the Irish and a good day to be Irish.”

    Horse Sport Ireland CEO Ronan Murphy added: “This is another incredible result for the Irish Sport Horse studbook, Irish owners, breeders and our riders. To fill all three places on the podium in a world championship final is phenomenal. I want to congratulate our chef d’equipe for the championships, John Ledingham, and all the connections involved.”

    The host nation provided the six-year-old winner with the BWP Studbook’s Mystic Van’t Hoogeinde (Jeroen de Winter) taking gold. Great Britain’s Donald Whitaker piloted last year’s five-year-old champion Chilli (by Colestus), owned by Tom Williams, with great style and the pair just missed out on the top spot, settling for the silver medal position.

    The new seven-year-old world champion is the Oldenburg stallion Solid Gold Z, who was ridden by the host Zanghersheide Stud’s very own Christian Ahlmann of Germany.

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    “On the first day, there were 203 horses that participated in the seven-year-olds so it’s already quite an achievement to make it to the final,” said Christian. “Before the jump-off, I felt that Solid Gold Z was getting a bit tired, but his exceptional attitude and willpower ensures he never disappoints.”

    Don’t miss the full report from the FEI WBFSH World Breeding Championships in this week’s Horse & Hound, out Thursday 20 September.

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