GAIN/ALLTECH AUTUMN GRAND PRIX LEAGUE SET TO GO DOWN TO THE WIRE AT CAVAN INTERNATIONAL
Capt. Michael Kelly is bidding to become the first Army Rider to claim a Grand Prix League if he can win the GAIN/Alltech Autumn Grand Prix League after Friday evenings final leg at the Cavan International Horse Show.
Although there were previous winners of the National Championship Title from Lt Col Gerry Mullins and Comdt John Ledingham, this will be the first ever National League title for the Equitation School.
Capt. Kelly leads by just four points with Alexander Butler lying in second. Both riders have one win under their belt and with points and a half on offer in Friday nights final, there is a lot to play for.
The Final leg is a 1.40m Jump Off, the second International Competition at the 5 day Show in the Cavan Equestrian Centre and was won 12 months ago by Cian O’Connor who claimed the League Title along with the Final after an enthralling battle with Eddie Moloney.
Having won in Cavan in October with the great mare, Mo Chroi, Capt. Michael Kelly is sure to be full of confidence ahead of the final; ‘’I will be riding Drumiller Lough and Mo Chroi in the Final. I would be delighted to win the League. While it would be a fantastic achievement for myself, it would be even more important for the Equitation School.
‘’I hope I can stay in front. Alexander (Butler) rested Will Wimble last week so he’ll be coming here fighting hard but I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that I can do it for the School.’’
Alexander Butler is just four points adrift of the Army Rider. Butler was a winner at Kernan’s at the beginning of October and was also placed in Cavan, behind Capt. Kelly, and subsequently in Killossery.
Speaking about his chances, Butler appeared not as optimistic that he would be able to catch the long time leader; ‘’In my own mind I felt that should be closer to Michael than I am. I felt that I should have got a couple of points last week and if I had I would be more confident going into tomorrow’s Final.
‘’Realistically, if Michael can be clear on Mo Chroi I will find it very hard to beat him. The only chance I have is if one of mine is clear early in the class and I can put the pressure on that way. I won’t let it go too easy though.
‘’I’ll be riding Vimminka and Will Wimble. Both are in good form, I rested Will Wimble for this Show so I’ll be hoping for a good performance from him. I was hoping to get points on Vimminka last week in Wexford but she’s jumping well also and I’ll be trying hard to win.’’
Frank Curran (13 points), Dermott Lennon (13) and previous Autumn Grand Prix League Champion, Peter Smyth (12) are also within reaching distance of Capt. Michael Kelly with points and a half on offer. However, they would need to win the final and for both Kelly and Butler to finish outside of the top 6 to be crowned Champion.
The final leg of the GAIN/Alltech Autumn Grand Prix League will be shown live on www.irishsport.tv from 7pm on Friday evening along with all other International Competitions at the Cavan International Show this weekend.