Golden World Championship victory for Kilkenny’s Ger O’Neill and The Irish Sport Horse mare Columbcille Gipsy
Ireland’s incredible gold medal winning run in Show Jumping has continued today, with Kilkenny’s Ger O’Neill and The Irish Sport Horse mare Columbcille Gipsy, crowned World Champions in the six-year-old final at the FEI World Breeding Jumping Championships for Young Horses at Lanaken in Belgium.
The competition saw 260 of the top six-year-old horses from around the globe battle over three day’s of jumping, with the top 20 going forward to today’s final jump-off against the clock. O’Neill and Columbcille Gipsy, who was bred in Kilkenny by Eamonn Murphy, finished with a perfect clear round and with over two seconds to spare over their nearest challenger, Germany’s Harm Lahde, while the bronze medal went to Belgium’s Caroline De Laet.
The result adds to an incredible year for Irish Show Jumping, after the Irish senior team won the European Championship gold medal in Gothenburg last month, while Ireland also scooped the team and individual gold at the European pony championships in July.
It is the second year in-a-row that Ger O’Neill has won the six-year-old World Championship after he also claimed gold with the Irish Sport Horse Killossery Kaiden in 2016.
“It’s unbelievable to come back and win it again,” a delighted O’Neill said. “With 260 starters it was going to be hard and this was a different horse obviously than last year. She has been very consistent all year in Ireland. She won the biggest competition of the year at the €40,000 Irish Breeders Classic and won three of the Irish Sport Horse Studbook leagues as well, but to come back and win today is a dream come through.”
Ger O’Neill also spoke about the huge support he had from the travelling Irish contingent in Lanaken:
“Number seven was a difficult fence, luckily I saw the first few go and I saw them struggle with it so I give my horse a bit of extra time to jump that and coming home I had to be as quick as I could. I was early in the jump off as number seven of 20 and ideally you wouldn’t want to have to go that fast but luckily I put down a marker and it was good enough today. The support I had at the gate was unbelievable and you could also see that when the lads won the European Championship gold in Gothenburg they were all rooting for each other. Even to get qualified for the final here is quite difficult but to be double gold medalist, I don’t really have the words for it.”
Comdt. John Ledingham, Chef d’Equipe of the Irish team in Lanaken said:
“I want to congratulate Columbcille Gipsy, her breeder Eamonn Murphy and Ger O’Neill on their tremendous win at the FEI WBFSH World Championships six-year-old finals at Lanaken, made even more special for the fact that Ger has retained his world championship title won here last year. I particularly want to commend HSI who through their Irish Sport Horse studbook have developed and implemented a world class production system in Ireland for their young horses. In addition, the current selection structures and committee has served us very well and now appears to be paying dividends with these successes.”
Horse Sport Ireland Director of Breeding Alison Corbally added:
“The FEI WBFSH World Championships for young horses at Lanaken is the annual highlight for young horse show jumping and for the Irish Sport Horse Studbook to win the six-year-old finals for the second consecutive year is an unbelievable achievement. I want to acknowledge the efforts of the breeders, owners, riders and enthusiasts who have supported the breeding programme and the Studbook Series which is now reaping the rewards from their endeavours. Well done to you all!”
Horse Sport Ireland CEO Ronan Murphy said:
I want to congratulate Ger O’Neill and Eamonn Murphy the breeder of Columbcille Gipsy (ISH), on a fantastic performance in winning the Gold medal in Lanaken. It is a brilliant result for The Irish Sport Horse Studbook and adds to what has been an incredible year for Irish Show Jumping on the world stage.”
Columbcille Gipsy (ISH) – 2011 bay mare by Toulon (BWP) out of Gipsy III (HOLST), by Grundyman (TB). Bred by Eamonn Murphy, Co. Kilkenny. Owner: Eamonn Murphy & Ger O’Neill. Rider: Ger O’Neill (IRL)
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