BABINGTON AND MCGUIGAN MAKE IT AN IRISH DOUBLE IN FLORIDA

RONAN McGuigan made it an Irish double in Florida this weekend when he won last night’s (Friday) FEI ranking class at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Centre in Wellington.

The Co. Tyrone rider partnered his long-time ride Capall Zidane at the World Cup show to collect the 8,000 euro winner’s prize, successfully fighting off a challenge from top American rider Lauren Hough, who trailed McGuigan by just under a second on the Irish Sport Horse gelding Heracross.

Always fast, Capall Zidane thrives on speed, and McGuigan explained that he likes to let the horse stretch out before bigger classes.

“My plan with him is that I usually run him in a class earlier in the week if it is a speed class,” he said. “I don’t hold back, because once he is going forward, then I can relax later on in the week. He is always careful enough, so the main thing is to go forward with him.”

On Wednesday¬†afternoon at Wellington, Tipperary’s Kevin Babington snatched the big opening class trophy for Ireland with a win on the nine year-old mare Shorapur,

Babington and Shorapur have had a remarkable season, including four major grand prix victories. The mare began the season with two second place finishes in Challenge Cup classes during the USA’s 2014 Winter Equestrian Festival and has gradually stepped up throughout the year.