/ Equestrian

Nine Irish to compete at Badminton outdoor event

Updated: Wednesday, 28 Apr 2010 16:20

Nine Irish to compete at Badminton outdoor event

It has been confirmed that no fewer than nine Irish riders will
line up for this week's Badminton International Horse Trials from a
field of 85 starters.

The competition is Britain’s largest outdoor sporting event, with over 250,000 spectators expected to attend. The competition's conclusion will be televised live on BBC on Monday afternoon.

When the original accepted list was published eight Irish combinations had made the start list based on their world rankings, but one other combination - Captain Geoff Curran and Balladeer Alfred, have been called up from the waiting list, making a total of nine riders.

Twenty-year-old Camilla Speirs from Kildare, who makes her debut at Badminton, will be one of the youngest riders competing, with her horse Portersize Just a Jiff.

Speirs said today: ‘It's really great to have been a part of Horse Sport Ireland's high performance programme at such a relatively young age, and I think it has prepared me very well for my first appearance at Badminton, which is one of the biggest challenges any rider can face.

‘Nevertheless I'm really looking forward to it and I'm sure it
will be a terrific experience for Portersize Just a Jiff too.’

The list of Irish competitors in full is:

Captain Geoff Curran: Balladeer Alfred
Mark Kyle: Step in Time
Austin O’Connor: Pocket Rocket
Sasha Pemble: I’ve Been Dunn
Liz Power: Kilpatrick River
Michael Ryan: Old Road
Patricia Ryan: Fernhill Clover Mist
Camilla Speirs: Portersize Just A Jiff
Sam Watson: Horseware Bushman.

The competition starts with the dressage phase on Friday, which
will continue into Saturday. The cross country takes place on Sunday with the event concluding with show jumping on Sunday.

Irish riders will be available for interview from the venue from
Thursday by contacting the Horse Sport Ireland press office.

The Irish team will be overseen by Horse Sport Ireland’s high
performance manager Ginny Elliot, who is a four-time Olympic
medallist.

Dressage trainer Ferdi Eilberg, show jumping trainer
Michael Quirke and team vet Marcus Swail will also be on hand to
assist the Irish riders.