Irish riders enjoyed Grand Prix success in Europe over the weekend, capped off by Jonathan Gordon’s 1.45m two-star win in Lier, Belgium.
Mayo’s Gordon was imperious on board 10-year-old Capri, finishing fastest of the clear rounds in round one around what proved a very testing course.
Of the 55 entrants, just five went clear and Gordon set the pace in the jump-off, going double clear in a time of 35.37 seconds. That would prove too hot for his four rivals and only home rider Claire Putters would join him with a second clear round.
She was 0.31 seconds slower than Gordon, however, and with the remaining combinations knocking poles Gordon claimed the victory.
Meanwhile, in Spain, Ireland were agonisingly close to winning the CSI4* 1.55m Grand Prix in Vejer de la Frontera, with Michael Duffy finishing in second place and Harry Allen back in fourth.
It was Holland’s Kevin Jochems who took the spoils, jumping double clear in a time of 40.91 seconds, with Duffy coming closest to the time, also clear but marginally slower in 41.29 seconds on board Clitschko 17.
Duffy has been in excellent form of late, partnering Cinca 3 on Irish four-star and five-star Nations Cup teams, finishing on the podium on both occasions, and he will be delighted with Clitschko 17’s performance.
For his part, European Under-21 bronze medallist Allen was scintillating in round one, jumping clear in the quickest time of all the successful combinations, and he was again lightning fast in the jump-off. Jumping is the name of the game, however, and an unfortunate four faults led to him finishing just outside the podium places in fourth.