ROUNDING off a very successful weekend at Vimeiro in Portugal, Irish riders Bertram Allen and Niall Talbot confirmed their dominance of the show with first and second places in the Grand Prix this evening (Sunday).
Seventeen year-old Allen took tonight's first prize on board Billy Twomey's chestnut stallion Romanov, beating fellow Irish rider Talbot and the 12 year-old gelding Nicos de la Cense, owned jointly by the rider and Jean-Claude Engisch, by just under a second.
Allen, who is from Wexford and at 17 is still eligible to compete with the Irish Junior team, nevertheless outclassed some of Europe's top senior riders at Vimeiro, taking a first place on Saturday with Zenzation, a win on Friday with Wild Thing L, as well as several second places.
Kildare-born Talbot also had a third place in Friday's Grand Prix Qualifier together with a win on Thursday in the Two Phase competition.
In Canada, meanwhile, Mayo's Cameron Hanley, a member of Ireland's winning Nations' Cup team on Thursday, took third place in the Spruce Meadows Derby last night with Player du Quesnoy, while fellow team member, Co. Down's Conor Swail, had a second place in Friday's jump-off class on Martha Louise.
In Cannes, Tipperary's Denis Lynch was ninth in the Global Champions Tour Grand Prix with All Star, the first prize going to Germany's Marcus Ehning and Plot Blue.
At Hagen in Germany, Ireland's Michael Duffy took second place in Saturday's Junior Grand Prix with Murchu.
While Ireland's Olympic Bronze Medallist Cian O'Connor today won a Golf GTI car when taking first prize at the Grand Prix in Sommerstorf, Germany but immediately donated it to his long-time groom, "Frenchy".
Riding Beverley Widdowson's 12 year old gelding Unique clear over two rounds, 33 year-old O'Connor, who is based in Co. Meath, was one of ten combinations through to the jump-off, but claimed the white performance car as his prize when romping home almost two seconds faster than German challenger Carsten-Otto Nagel and Holiday by Solitour.
Afterwards O'Connor said: "Unique has been a consistent performer since joining my stables at the beginning of the year, and has delivered great performances in the United Arab Emirates, Austria and more recently in Norten Hardenburg in Germany. We came here to win the Grand Prix and that's just what we did."
Asked about his decision to hand over the Golf GTI to his groom, O'Connor said: "Frenchy (real name Clement Waras) has been with me through thick and thin over the last seven years, including the London Olympics, and the decision was quite simple - my wife and I both have cars and he does not. So Frenchy gets the Golf."