Irish teenager Christopher Megahey and the Irish Sport Horse Seapatrick Cruise Cavalier produced an outstanding performance at the world famous London International Horse Show in Olympia last night (Thursday), to finish as joint winners of the Cayenne sponsored Puissance competition over the big red wall.
Holly Smith riding Quality Old Joker (ISH) and Christopher Megahey riding Seapatrick Cruise Cavalier (ISH) joint winners of the 2016 Puissance at London International Horse Show in Olympia, pictured with the Duchess of Cornwall (Photo: Horsepower)
A thrilling contest saw just two riders clear the wall in the fifth round at it’s final height of 7ft 1 inch, with both winning horses born and bred in Ireland. Eighteen-year-old Christopher Megahey from Templepatrick in Co Antrim, matched the earlier giant leap of Britain’s Holly Smith riding Quality Old Joker (ISH), to share the winners prize of €12,500.
Speaking afterwards, the Antrim teenager spoke about the nerves leading up to the competition, and how Seapatrick Cruise Cavalier’s Puissance career started by chance when they were trying to sell him:
“During the day leading up to the class I was a bit shaky, a little nervous – I enjoyed the atmosphere and the crowd really gets behind you and pushes you on. We originally bought the horse for Eventing but he wasn’t quite good enough. I took him on when I was 15 and started jumping him.”
Asked when did he discover that he could jump “very big” Megahey replied, “It was actually when we were trying to sell him. He wasn’t going that well and a good friend of mine Daniel Coyle suggested I jump him in a Puissance that day and he has just went on from there – i’m really happy. I loved it – it didn’t faze me at all. It’s just brilliant being here, being around top riders like Marcus Ehning and Scott Brash,” he said.
Megahey and Seapatrick Cruise Cavalier, who is owned by Britt Megahey and bred by Noel Walsh from Co. Carlow, have made a name for themselves as Puissance specialists in the past two years. They won the Emerald International Puissance in 2014 when Christopher was just 16 and finished as runners-up in the Horse Of The Year Show Puissance earlier this year. They also took third spot on the podium in the Liverpool International Puissance 12 months ago. Seapatrick Cruise Cavalier showed his versatility in 2015 when he won the Land Rover Puissance at the Dublin Horse Show with Egyptian rider Sameh El Dahan.
Olympia joint winner Quality Old Joker (pictured above), who is just an eight-year-old, was bred in Kilkenny by Roberta Dowley.
In the earlier Christmas Pudding Stakes at Olympia, Waterford-born Anthony Condon finished best of the Irish when taking fifth place with Balzac behind Italian winner Lorenzo De Luca riding Halifax van het Kluizebos.
The London International Horse Show at Olympia continues until Monday, with the Longines World Cup and Olympia Grand Prix among the remaining highlights.