Wright sails away with Ireland's prizes
Ballindenisk, Watergrass Hill, Co Cork, Ireland
Young British rider Matthew Wright has sprung into fourth place in the FEI Eventing World Cup rankings after taking the Irish qualifier at Ballindenisk by storm last weekend.
Wright dominated Ballindenisk's FEI Eventing World Cup qualifier, in which he was first and third and won a luxury sailing holiday; then, for good measure, he scored a 1-2 in the CIC** concurrently running there.
Event organiser and host Peter Fell said: ,Matthew took the event by the roots no one could get near him. He was in a class of his own and didn't even knock a show jumping pole all weekend. 0/00
Wright led from the start in the FEI Eventing World Cup qualifier and finished over 10 penalties clear on his family's home-bred skewbald horse Park Pilot (45.8); he scored the only dressage mark under 50 (45), was fastest across country (0.8 time penalties) and jumped faultlessly around a big and technical show jumping track.
Wright also rose from eighth after dressage to be third on L,Air du Jour (61.9), a new ride of only five weeks, with another fast cross-country round (4.4) and a clear show jumping. Only one other rider was faultless in the final phase, 10th-placed Niall Griffin, a member of the 2005 Irish squad on Lorgaine (89.5).
Wright, 23, is a natural horseman whose skills were nurtured through the hunting field and his father Roger's horse-dealing business. He has represented Great Britain in Pony and Young Rider teams and earned his first senior flag last year when he finished 13th on Park Pilot at the European Championships.
He has been told that he must take his mother Jane, who acts as his groom, on the sailing holiday he has won! Cork boat-builders Archibald Reed have provided a fantastic holiday for four on a skippered yacht in the Mediterranean.
Lt Geoff Curran (IRL), a soldier who only started eventing in 2002, flew the Irish flag at Ballindenisk. He was second on Kilkishen (57.6), a former show jumper, and fifth on the mare Quick Thinking, formerly ridden by Elizabeth Power. Sherelle Duke (IRL), a former Young Rider European Champion, was fourth on Ballystockart (63.3).
There were 20 starters and 17 finishers, of which 12 jumped clear across country over an imposing cross-country course built by Peter Fell's twin brother Andrew. Most influential fence was a double of corners which caused a handful of run-outs.
There were no horse falls or serious problems but Steven Smith (IRL), who was seventh on Colour Coded (74.1), jumped into the middle of a parallel with his other horse Quality VH and the fence had to be dismantled.
The show jumping was influential; Anna Lidar (SWE) dropped from third to sixth place on Double Dealer with three rails down and ninth-placed Sarah Wardell (IRL) fell off Kincluny (86.5).
The next FEI Eventing World Cup qualifiers are at opposite ends of the world: Warwick (AUS) and Chatsworth (GBR) on May 13-14, where William Fox-Pitt (GBR), Clayton Fredericks (GBR) and Andrew Nicholson (NZL), who has yet to enter the 2006 leaderboard, head a multi-national field of 40.
Phillip Dutton (AUS) still heads the leaderboard on 170 points from Karin Donckers (BEL) on 165, Rodney Powell (GBR) on 142 and Matthew Wright (GBR) on 140.
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