Meath native John Floody was crowned the GAIN/Alltech Grand Prix champion for the second consecutive year last Friday at Cavan International Horse Show. Although Floody failed to feature in the final leg, with his closest rival Liam O’ Meara also failing to add to his points tally, Floody’s four point lead was enough for him to take the title and along with it a prize fund of €1,000.
Following a very competitive jump-off, victory in the final round belonged to Dermott Lennon riding Valent. Owned by Keonan Stables, Valent is a 14 year-old stallion by Hors La Loi II and out of the Lux Z sired mare, Sarnike. The combination have just returned from a successful tour of duty on the European circuit having clocked up a series of results, which included a third place in two competitions at St Lô CSI3*.
As in previous years Cavan International Show proved to be a popular ending to the league, with a large crowd lining the arena to watch the 45 starters battle it out for the €3,000 GAIN Horse Feeds sponsored class.
First to go in the eight way jump-off, Sven Hadley didn’t hang about with Jarlath Fahy’s Sumas Taloubet. The Galway rider made up time from the start and a tight turn from the the double to the penultimate vertical saw him set a tough target of clear in 41.95 seconds.
Next to take it on with Zuidam, Darragh Ryan took off at a blistering pace, but an extremely tight turn back to the oxer at three proved costly as it fell to the ground. Keeping his foot to the floor meant however that his time of 37.71 saw him take fourth.
Tholm Keane opted for more cautious lines with Amanda Kirwan’s eight-year-old mare Highly Efficient, but despite this four faults at the first part of the double failed to demote Hadley from the top slot. A fast time however of 41.82 saw him account for sixth place, which in the end was enough for him to take the runner-up prize in the league of €500.
Philip McGuane’s careful approach with Judas VD Donkhoeve paid off as he crossed the line with nothing to add in 42.34, which would later see him finish just behind Sven Hadley in the standings.
With only one double clear recorded, all eyes were on the penultimate combination of Dermott Lennon and Valent. No strangers to this type of pressure, Lennon made it look easy as he came home with nothing to add in 37.35 to take the lead from Hadley.
Last to go, only Matt Garrigan riding Contino 56 could deny Lennon the win, but four faults at the second oxer saw his hopes of a win dashed. With only two clears recorded, Garrigan knew he had to maintain the pressure and stopping the clock in 40.34 saw him take fifth place.