‘That’s by far the best he’s gone’: second individual medal for Ireland at World Championships

  • Ireland’s Michael Murphy pulled out all the stops to ride a challenging grade I freestyle test and give Ireland their second bronze of the championships with a whopping 78.39% in the Orifarm Healthcare FEI World Para Dressage Championships results.

    A brand-new floorplan with new music saw Michael up the difficulty riding his tall and elegant 15-year-old black gelding Cleverboy. Packed full of score-gaining tours, the moves came thick and fast with no time for contemplation.

    “We wanted to up the difficulty and technicality with the music, and that’s by far the best that he’s gone round that test,” said Michael. “It’s a difficult test to ride, but you’ve got to make it challenging at this level. And he was so good in there, he was with me the whole way. He was so relaxed and ready to do the next move. It was a dream to ride.”

    Michael explains how he made his decisions when creating his floorplan: “The plan is to keep it interesting. In a walk test, if you go in straight lines too much, it gets boring very quickly, so you’ve got to mix it up and show off the horse. It’s difficult to tie it together, but he did it perfectly.”

    After playing the bridesmaid all week in the grade I, Italy’s Sara Morganti and Royal Delight stepped up their game to complete a fantastic freestyle with 80.65% and finish at the top of the podium.

    Royal Delight coped impeccably with the buzzy atmosphere of the arena, leaving Sara to concentrate on pulling off beautifully positioned half-passes and rhythmical work.

    “This is just too beautiful to be true, I’m so happy,” said Sara. “I’m delighted with Royal Delight. It felt really good with the music and I couldn’t have wanted more from his performance.”

    Latvia’s Rihards Snikus and King Of The Dance suffered a spook in their walk circle, which saw them lose important marks, but they managed to hold it together to earn 78.4%, which was good enough for silver.

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