Irish owners ‘chance’ is paying off at five-star level at the Winter Equestrian Festival

  • Owning a five-star grand prix horse is something Niall Carey and his wife Cara feel very lucky to be doing. Niall was chatting to Paul O’Shea a year ago – Cara was training with the Irish grand prix showjumper – and learned that Chancelloress was coming up for sale. Now they are enjoying their horse’s success at the Winter Equestrian Festival.

    “Paul said he really wanted to keep the mare because obviously he had put a lot of work in and she was just ready to move up to five-star level and he said it would be a shame to lose her,” said Niall, who lives stateside now but is originally from Ireland’s County Offaly. “Me and my wife got talking and we said you know what, let’s take a chance and we purchased the horse.”

    Last night O’Shea rode Chancelloress, a 13-year-old chestnut mare, to runner up position behind compatriot Bertram Allen – Bertram scored back-to-back grand prix victories winning the $406,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSI5* with Pacino Amiro.

    “Paul is just an amazing rider’” said Niall. “The way he rode last night – he was just so focused.” Attention was needed as the course designed by USA’s Anthony D’Ambrosio and Ecuador’s Andy Christiansen set a testing track for the 40 entries in the “Saturday Night Lights” class. Five were able to go clear over the first-round course while 12 fell victim to just one rail down.

    “I thought it was tough actually,” said Paul. “It’s the biggest Chancelloress has ever done and when I walked it I thought this was going to be a good test.” It was the second of four five-star weeks during the WEF circuit, which culminates on 3 April. Chancelloress is likely to make one more appearance at WEF. “It’s easy to do too much here,” said Paul. “There’s a lot of jumping going on. It’s important not to over do it.”

    For Niall and Cara, buying the horse a year ago, turned out to be a good decision. “We’ve had a great time with her,” Niall said. “It’s only been a year and we have had one five-star win and been second twice. We are very lucky to have had such success with the mare and it’s been an unbelievable experience.”

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