Ger O’Neill and Ballyshan BF Super Hero win lucrative Irish Breeders Classic Final

Gerard O’Neill and Ballyshan B F Super Hero (ISH) (5 YO) winners of the Irish Breeders Classic Final Photo by Rolf Stenberg/

Kilkenny’s Ger O’Neill and the Martin Egan-owned Ballyshan BF Super Hero (ISH) secured victory in the prestigious Irish Breeders Classic final at Barnadown, Co Wexford on Sunday, with O’Neill completing a hat-trick of victories in what is one of the most lucrative young horse competitions in Europe for 5 and 6-year-old horses.

A massive 18 combinations made it through to the jump-off in the Irish Horse Board arena, where O’Neiil produced a lightning-fast clear round with the 5-year-old gelding in a time of 35.62 seconds to take victory. Two of Ger O’Neill’s previous wins in the Irish Breeders Classic came with Kilossery Kaiden (ISH), and Columcille Gypsy (ISH), who went on to win gold medals at the FEI WBFSH Show Jumping Championships for young horses in Lanaken, Belgium. Ballyshan BF Super Hero (ISH) was bred by Gary Doherty and was bought by Ger’s longtime business partner and lifelong friend Martin Egan.

Speaking to The Irish Horse Board after his win, Ger O’Neill said:
“I am delighted to win this competition again this year, it never gets old! It’s always a target with our young horses in Castlefield. Ballyshan BF Super Hero (ISH) was bred by Gary Doherty. He is by Celtic Hero BZ out of Ballyshan Luximportant (ISH) by Lux Z (HANN). This horse has a similar story to Castlefield Vegas who Martin Egan also bought as a three year old. Martin produced Ballyshan BF Super Hero with Claire Fisher until this year when I took over the ride. I want to say a special thanks to Martin Egan and John Kearney as they have been loyal supporters of mine and Castlefield for the past ten years and we have celebrated many successful days, hopefully we will have many more to come. Days like today are not possible without the support of such good owners.”

Ger O’Neill pictured with his wife Ali O’Neill following his win in the Irish Breeders Classic Final

Runner-up spot in the Irish Breeders Classic went to Kildare’s Mikey Pender who finished in a time of 36.24 seconds aboard the Bravo Hughes-owned mare HHS Ice Flow (ISH). Nicholas Connors took third place on the podium with Jump The Gun (WSI) when they crossed the line in 37.62, while Ger O’Neill also filled fourth place with Ballinaguilkey Special Star (ISH).
All of the top seven finishers jumped double clear, including Olivia Roulston who finished fifth with Sydney PMD (ISH), while young rider Robyn Moran completed the top six with Fortside Bonnaroo (ISH).

The 4-year-old final at The Irish Breeders Classic was won by Darren Hopkins with Enzo BW (ISH), while Waterford army rider Comdt. Geoff Curran continued his recent impressive form when winning the 7&8 year-old final with DHF Alliance (ISH). The Plusvital Grand Prix at The Irish Breeders Classic was won by recently-crowned Irish National Champions, Jonathan Smyth and Mulvin Lui (ISH).

Ballyshan B F Super Hero (ISH)
: 2018 gelding by Celtic Hero B Z (Zang) out of Ballyshan Luximportant (ISH), by Lux Z (Hann). Breeder: Gary Doherty, Co. Donegal. Owner: Martin Egan. Rider: Ger O’Neill (IRL)