It's that time of year again where everyone who is anyone involved in horses in Ireland will be making the annual pilgrimage to the roads this coming week. It’s an amazing event enhanced by such large supporting crowds which seem to make you try harder as you want to please all the fans and supporters.
I've jumped in the international classes at Dublin every year since 1998 and have been a member of 10 Aga Khan teams- twice winning the famous trophy. There is no better feeling in the world (other than an Olympic medal of course!) than delivering a top performance on the team in Dublin - it somehow defines the year, is reward for all the effort and is a thank you to all my background team who work tirelessly to make it happen.
This year is no different. It's all systems go at Karlswood as I enter my 17th year competing in Dublin and hopefully my 11th Aga Khan appearance. The adrenalin that you experience when competing at Dublin is unexplainable. You just want it to go well and in the build up think about nothing else except visualising winning performances and rethinking past victories at the famous arena.
This year I take Quidam's Cherie as my main horse and Quidam’s Flower and Saphir as my two other international mounts. I have a new stallion called Aramis for the 7 & 8 yr old class plus the Irish bred Hugo in the 6 yr old division. Perhaps the one class I'm especially looking forward to is Saturday's Land Rover puissance. I have a super horse to ride in the Irish bred chestnut stallion, Castlecomer Q, owned and bred by Willie McDonnell. (See link of us practising!)
Ross is taking Lvs Heartache, whom I own together with Mark Duffy. The pair qualified in the 7 & 8 yr old section in Galway over the summer and I expect them to go well, as horse and jockey looked extremely good in training this week.
The practicing is complete. The next few days the horses hack around the farm and graze to allow them to freshen up for the busy week ahead. It will be hard to beat the last few years’ results - winning the Nation's Cup in 2012 and last yr winning 2 classes including the Grand Prix. Either way we will do our best and ultimately enjoy the week in the knowledge that no stone is left unturned in terms of the planning and build up to the highlight of my sporting year!!
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