Two on the trot for Ireland's Michael Duffy

Irish teenager Michael Duffy won the All England Grand Prix for a second consecutive time today at Hickstead.

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Twelve months ago, Michael won this feature class at the All England Jumping Championships on Westland Ruby. This year, Michael won on another mare - Dirk Van Bossel's Iron Lady III.

"They're like chalk and cheese," said the 19-year-old about his two Grand Prix winning mares. "Ruby is like a pony, this mare is 18hh and as long as a bus, but she's a big softy."

In today's competition, twelve horses went clear round Olympic course designer Bob Ellis' track to progress to the jump-off. European team gold medallist William Funnell was the first to produce a second clear round, riding Billy Onslow, then Michael came in and made the most of Iron Lady III's rangy stride to take the lead with 42.44sec.

A number of top riders tried to better his time, including William Funnell on his second ride Judge N Jury, Team GB squad member Jessie Drea on Touchable, and Tim Stockdale on Erasmus VD Heffinck, but none could catch the young Irish rider, who took home the £2,000 first prize.

Michael took over the ride on Iron Lady III from Robert Whitaker, who is still very much involved with the mare. Michael began riding her the week before the Longines Royal International Horse Show and only decided to step her up a level at this show.

"I've thrown her in at the deep end a bit but she's been amazing," said Michael, who is originally from Co Galway but is now based with Duncan Inglis in West Sussex.

It was a second win for Michael this week, having won the All England 1.40m Open class with Westland Ruby on Friday.

Quite aptly - with today's individual showjumping final being held in Normandy at the FEI World Equestrian Games - Michael was presented with his prize by former world champion and showjumping legend, David Broome.

 

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