Seamus Hughes-Kennedy wins Millstreet Grand Prix while Irish riders shine in Europe and North America

Another brilliant performance from European U21 double gold medal winner Seamus Hughes-Kennedy (pictured) saw him fill two of the top three places in Sunday’s two-star Grand Prix at Millstreet International Horse Show in Co Cork, which this year is celebrating 50 years of equestrian events at the Green Glens arena.

A testing course saw just two double clear rounds, with Kilkenny’s Hughes-Kennedy taking the winners prize with the Irish-bred Cuffesgrange Cavadora (ISH), bred by Eamonn Sheahan. They stopped the clock in 55.18 seconds as last to jump, to push the only other double clear – Tim MacDonagh with Hollypark Galloway (ISH) into runner-up spot with a time of 58.39. Seamus Hughes Kennedy also filled third place on the podium with his second mount, Castlefield Hera (ISH).

In the earlier Boomerang final for 6 & 7 year-old horses, Jason Higgins was on fire when taking victory with MBF Be Blue, and also runner-up spot with MBF Maxwill. Former Hickstead Derby winner Paul Beecher finished third with Brogagh Darcy (ISH), bred by Brockaghfield Stables.

The Millstreet Ruby 5-year-old final was won by Katie McEntee and Castlefield Duchess. Second place went to Deane Rogan and Silvermines Cornet Cruise (ISH), bred by Clement Stapleton, while Molly Hughes Bravo and HHS Ocala (ISH), bred by Marion Hughes, finished third. 

Dutch win for Denis Lynch 

Meanwhile at Valkenswaard in The Netherlands, Irish riders dominated the 1.50m Lugano Diamonds Trophy at the five-star Longines Global Champions Tour of Valkenswaard, with Tipperary’s Denis Lynch guiding Brooklyn Heights to victory.

The gripping competition culminated with Lynch securing the win by a mere 0.13 seconds against the formidable Italian duo of Lorenzo de Luca and Don Vito. Kildare’s Michael Pender and the classy Chacco Bay took third place to round off the podium after a 9-horse jump-off.

Speaking of his win in the final five-star class of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Valkenswaard, Denis Lynch commented on how Brooklyn Heights has come back to the top level of the sport from a heavy competition schedule earlier in the year:

“He was very unlucky on Friday not to win, the last fence, that was my fault… and today we could’ve gone up two more gears, so he did the jump off nicely, and to win it – even better as we didn’t ask everything of him today and that’s brilliant.”

Mikey Pender’s third place finish came less than 48 hours after he helped the St Tropez Pirates team to victory in the Valkenswaard leg of the Longines Global Champions League.

Irish success in Toronto

Across the Atlantic, Offaly’s Darragh Kenny added to a great run of results for Irish riders in Toronto (CAN), when he took victory in Saturday’s two-star Grand Prix. Kenny guided the 10-year-old stallion Irwin (Kannan x Peanuts Z) to a clear jump-off time of 35.13 to push Kent Farrington (USA) and Greya (35.97) into second. Third place also went to Ireland, with Limerick’s Paul O’Shea and the 9-year-old mare Dirty Girl crossing the line clear in 36.51.

Derry’s Daniel Coyle earlier led an Irish 1-2 in the 1m45 at the same venue. Coyle and Ivory TCS took the winners prize with a clear second round in 40.81 while Offaly’s Darragh Kenny was his closest challenger to take runner-up spot aboard Vancouver Dreams in a time of 41.12. 

Co Down’s Conor Swail and Calciet EB Z were best of the Irish when taking fourth place in Saturday’s feature $250,000 five-star Grand Prix in Toronto. One of eight riders to make it into the jump-off, Swail crossed the line clear in 45.78 seconds against the clock with the 10-year-old mare by Cornet Obolensky. Victory went to Kent Farrington (USA) and Toulayna in a time of 37.26.


Cuffesgrange Cavadora (ISH) – 2012 mare by Z Wellie 72 (KWPN) out of Cuffesgrange Cavalidam (ISH) by Luidam (KWPN). Breeder: Eamonn Sheehan, Co. Kilkenny. Owner: Clare Hughes. Rider: Seamus Hughes-Kennedy (IRL).