‘My mum was looking down on me at that fence’: Irish rider on home grand prix win

Hickstead-based Irishman Shane Breen won the Longines grand prix at Dublin Horse Show on Sunday (11 August) with the 11-year-old Ipswich Van De Wolfsakker as the quickest of just three double clears after a seven-way jump-off.

But it could have been a very different story, after he escaped with a lucky rub of a rail as he headed for home.

“My mum passed away about six years ago — I gave the third to last fence a decent rub, but when it stayed put I knew she was looking down on me,” said 44-year-old Shane, who was second in this prestigious class in 2016.

“I’ve been knocking on the door, but you do wonder when you’ll ever get it done,” added Shane. “For me, this is as good as a medal — it means everything.”

This was the first time since 2014 that a home rider has lifted the grand prix trophy — which comes with a staggering €115,500 (£106,760) first prize — in Dublin.

The runner-up spot went to Scott Brash riding the 10-year-old Hello Jefferson, with whom the British rider had jumped double clear in Friday’s Nations Cup to help his country lift the Aga Khan trophy for the first time since 2013.

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Italy claimed third on the grand prix podium courtesy of Lorenzo de Luca riding Dinky Toy V. Kranenburg, who produced the slowest of the double clears.

All the remaining jump-off riders — Susan Fitzpatrick (Fellow Castlefield), Richard Howley (Chinook), Ben Maher (Tic Tac) and Steve Guerdat (Venard De Cerisy) — set times quicker than Shane Breen but each came home on four faults. Unusually at this level, Ben and Steve recorded the exact same time against the clock to share sixth place honours.

Don’t miss the full report from Dublin Horse Show in this week’s Horse & Hound, out Thursday 15 August.