Impressive eighth place finish for O’Connor at Badminton

A brilliant final round on the final day of the Badminton Horse Trials in the UK on Sunday gave Irishman Austin O’Connor and Irish bred gelding Colorado Blue an excellent eighth place finish. O’Connor, who placed 13th at the Tokyo Olympics on Salty Syndicate’s own ‘Colorado Blue’, was 58th in dressage after the opening stage. A perfect no-decompression time in cross-country on Saturday, followed by another clean jumping round with just 0.4 penalties in the closing stages, saw O’Connor climb the leaderboard and finish with a final score of 36.3.

Susie Berry was the second best Irish finisher in 17th with “John The Bull” (ISH), while Padraig McCarthy was 33rd with “HHS Noble Call” and 41st with “Fallulah”.

It was an overall impressive performance by Irish Sport Horses who took three of the top five places. ‘Swallow Springs’ (ISH) took third place on the podium with Oliver Townend (GBR); ‘Vanir Kamira’ (ISH) and Piggy March (GBR) finished fourth; while ‘Ballaghmor Class’ (ISH) finished fifth – again ridden by Oliver Townend. There was also a top 10 placement for “Alfies Clover” (ISH) with Richard Jones (GBR).

Brit Laura Collett and “London 52” have been named Badminton Champions 2022. With an outstanding performance they added just 0.4 time penalties to their dressage score of 21.0 and took the title whilst Rosalind Canter (GBR) on ‘Lordships Graffalo’ finished second with a 26.0.


The world famous Badminton International Horse Trials got underway in South Gloucestershire last Thursday with Joseph Murphy of Westmeath, the leading Irish rider with ‘Cesar V’ after the opening day of dressage. Fresh from an impressive top 10 finish last weekend at the Five Star Kentucky Horse Trials in the USA, Murphy ended Day 1 in 17th place with a score of 31.5, with 41 competitors on that time had gone.

Tipperary’s Padraig McCarthy and ‘Fallulah’ were just one spot down in 18th place with 31.7 while Cathal Daniels of Galway was also in the top 20 with ‘Barrichello’ with 32.7.

A brilliant dressage performance on day two of the Badminton Horse Trials by Susie Berry and Irish sport horse “John The Bull” put her in 18th place out of 83 competitors with a score of 28.8 – less than eight penalties behind the weekend.

Joseph Murphy was the second best Irishman with ‘Cesar V’ at number 29 with a score of 31.5, just ahead of Padraig McCarthy and ‘Fallulah’ at number 30 with 31.7.

Britain’s Laura Collett and ‘London 52’ led with a remarkable 21-penalty record. Three Irish sport horses were in the top 10 with ‘Swallow Springs’ (ISH) in the same sixth place as Oliver Townend (GBR) with a score of 25.7 while another Irish sport horse, ‘Vanir Kamira’, tied for the same score lay Schweinchenmarsch (GBR). ‘Ballaghmor Class’ (ISH) took the same eighth place, again ridden by Oliver Townend with a score of 25.9.


A strong performance by several Irish eventers in Saturday’s cross-country stage of badminton made for big changes in the rankings heading into Sunday’s final show jumping.

Cork’s Austin O’Connor and ‘Colorado Blue’, owned by the Salty Syndicate, put in a brilliant, clean cross-country round in time to climb a whopping 45 places to 13th overall. O’Connor was the first rider to finish clean in the time allowed – one of only five riders to do so – to maintain his 35.9 dressage mark.

Clare Abbott and the Irish sport horse “Jewelent” also crossed the finish line without any jumping faults, only added four time faults to their dressage mark and finished 16th overall with a score of 37.2. Elizabeth Power and ‘Soladoun’ were also among the Irish combinations to make big strides in the standings. A clean round with 6.4 time errors put her in 20th place with 39.4; while Susie Berry and the Irish sport horse “John The Bull” on 41.6.

It was a fantastic afternoon for Irish Sport Horses who took three of the top five places. ‘Swallow Springs’ (ISH) was born on 25.7. with Oliver Townend (GBR) second while Townend on 25.9. ‘Ballaghmor Class’ also finished third with another Irish Sport Horse. ‘Vanir Kamira’ (ISH) and Piggy March (GBR) were in fifth place, just 5.1 penalty points behind British leader Laura Collett with ‘London 52’, who maintained her excellent dressage score of 21.0.



Top 10 Irish Bred Horses:

3) Swallow feathers [ISH] – 2008 gelding by Chillout (ISH), out of Kilila (ISH)[TIH] by Cult Hero (TB). Breeder: Maria Keating (Galway); 4) Vanir Kamira (ISH) – 2005 mare by Camiro De Haar Z (ZANG), out of Fair Caledonian (WNTR) by Dixi (TB). Breeder: Kathryn Jackson (Monaghan); 5) Ballaghmor Class (ISH) – 2007 gelding Courage II (HOLST), out of Kilderry Place (ISH). Breeder: Noel Hickey (Limerick); 8) Colorado Blue (SHBGB) – 2009 gelding by Jaguar Mail (SF), out of Rock Me Baby (AES), by Rock King (WNTR). Breeder: Stud Mellon / Kate Jarvey, Limerick; 10) Alfies Clover (ISH) – 2007 gelding by Tajraasi (TB), out of Aoifes Clover (P)(ISH)[TIH] from Clover Hill (ID). Breeder: James Hickey, Co Waterford.

Full badminton results are available at

Leave a Comment