4 May 2024

~4 minutes read

Another FIVE STAR Podium from Michael Duffy

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Another FIVE STAR Podium from Michael Duffy

Galwegian runner-up in Shanghai while ISH horse bags five-star victory at Royal Windsor

Michael Duffy continues to produce consistency on the Longines Global Champions Tour and the Miami Beach winner bagged another five-star podium finish when runner-up in the €166,200 second competition of the Longines Global Champions League in Shanghai today.

This was a return to China for the Tour after a four-year absence, with the action taking place at the purpose-built Shanghai Juss International Equestrian Centre, and Duffy certainly relished the surroundings.

The 29-year-old Turloughmore native saddled Cantano 32 for the 1.60m class against the clock and the ten-year-old gelding he co-owns along with Courtney Hopson and Hs Sportpferde GmbH stepped up to the plate with a career-best performance.

The class winner, Marlon Modolo Zanotelli did an incredible job to post a clear round in the fastest time despite being just third into the arena, his time of 71.20 seconds proving beyond all 34 combinations and earning the Brazilian top prize of €41,550.

Duffy and Cantano 32 were drawn in 19 and the Irishman showed that he had been watching closely, eking out not just one of only nine clear rounds but doing so in a fast time of 73.51, that slipped him into second and proved too hot for the remaining combos to handle.

That was enough to earn €33,240 for connections, with Germany’s Daniel Deusser and Gangster v/h Noddevelt bagging third.

“I’m very pleased with Cantano,” said Duffy afterwards. “He’s an extremely talented horse – just ten years old now but has so much ability. Jumping at this level comes so easy to him and he’s answered everything asked of him since joining my string last year.

“Even tonight, this track proved very technical and big and was difficult for a lot of combinations under the lights in this arena and only a few clear rounds to finish, but he makes it look easy and I’m thrilled to have him.

“He’s owned with Sloan and Courtney Hopson and Helena Stormanns, and I think he has a very bright future ahead of him.”

Unfortunately for Duffy, his Rome Gladiators teammate, Marco Kutscher (GER) endured a nightmare round on Aventador S, shipping 16 faults to scupper any chance of a strong finish in the League.

Home team Shanghai Swans took the League honours with four clear rounds in the two individual classes from Deusser and Pius Schwizer (SUI).

There were three other Irish riders participating in Shanghai – Harry Allen, Mark McAuley and Denis Lynch – and it was Lynch, who minted a five-star double in the Mexico City leg of the Tour, who was best of rest, finishing sixth in the first class on the 15-year-old he co-owns with Tipperary’s Finest Est, Cordial.

World number one, Henrik von Eckerman (SWE) was victorious in that opening 1.55m competition against the clock.

Meanwhile, though it was a British rider, Matthew Sampson who gave the home crowd cause for celebration by winning the five-star Defender Challenge Stakes at the Royal Windsor Show, it was the Irish Sport Horse Mgh Candy Girl that carried him to glory in another excellent result for domestic equestrian sport.

Runner-up in yesterday’s five-star class to Tipperary rider Shane Breen, Sampson and Mgh Candy Girl made no mistake this time around, coming out on top of a jump-off involving six combinations to see off Laura Kraut (USA), riding Calgary Tame, and Harrie Smolders (NED), who was navigating Monaco N.O.P.

Mgh Candy Girl is an 11-year-old mare by Sligo Candy Boy out of Cruising mare, Kilnamac Holly, who was bred in Co Cork by Timothy Kelleher. She is owned by Isabel Fox.

Elsewhere, Gort native, Jessica Burke and African Affair posted a fourth-place finish in four-star 1.50m speed class at Canteleu.

French pilot, Mathieu Billot claimed the overall honours on Lord de Muze with a clear round in 63.38 seconds but Burke navigated the test splendidly on African Affair, who clocked 67.48 to record a very strong finish in a field of 60 high-class combinations.


MGH Candy Girl (ISH) – 2013 mare by Sligo Candy Boy (ISH) out of Kilnamac Holly (ISH)[TIH] by Cruising (ISH)[TIH]. Breeder: Timothy Kelleher, Co. Cork. Owner: Isabel Fox. Rider: Matthew Sampson (GBR)

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