Sligo’s Richard Howley off to flying World Cup start with five-star Grand Prix win in Oslo

Richard Howley (IRL) riding Consulent de Prelet Z (ZANG Gelding bay born 2011 by Consulent Z x Fuego du Prelet FEI-id 105CW08 owned by Hk Horses Sarah Borthwick, winners at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2023/2024 Western European League – Oslo (NOR

Irish riders have made a stunning start to the indoor Longines FEI World Cup Show Jumping season, with Sligo’s Richard Howley storming to victory in today’s (Sunday) opening leg of the 2023/2024 Western European League at Oslo in Norway.

A hugely competitive 17-horse jump-off saw Howley guide the 12-year-old gelding Consulent de Prelet Z to a super fast clear in 34.55 seconds to claim one of the biggest wins of his career. French World No.10 Simon Delestre looked to have posted an unbeatable time (34.85) with Dexter Fontenis Z, before Howley’s brilliant effort saw the Irishman take the winners trophy.

It was an emotional win for Howley who had his parents watching from the stands:

“It’s amazing, I am absolutely over the moon with the result,” Howley said. “My horse jumped amazing. It’s just an incredible feeling. I have my parents here with me for the first time in a long time. They came to support me and they brought some Irish luck – a bit of a rub of the green.

“Simon {Delestre] had a fantastic round, he is obviously in brilliant form and won the Grand Prix yesterday and he really laid down the gauntlet. I had to try and match him, I think I had one stride less to the last fence and I would say everywhere else we were even par. It’s one of my biggest achievements [to win this World Cup]. Growing up watching World Cup jumping on television – these are what dreams are made of and I am very grateful to be able to do it.”

Tipperary’s Shane Breen also made it into the jump-off with Cuick Star Kervec and crossed the line clear in 36.90 to take fifth place at the finish.

Irish Horse Board Director General Alison Corbally said:

“Many congratulations to Richard Howley on his fantastic World Cup win in Oslo. To win a World Cup Grand Prix is always a special moment in any riders career and it was brilliant that his parents were in Oslo to witness Richard’s brilliant performance.”

The second round of the Longines FEI World Cup Series in Europe takes place next weekend in Helsinki, Finland.