Cian O’Connor and Greg Broderick produced six faultless rounds between them to net three top ten placings on the opening day of the prestigious Masters international meeting at Spruce Meadows in Canada yesterday, writes Mike Dunne.

O’Connor started the ball rolling when netting fourth place in the first of two international classes at the Canadian venue. Riding Callisto, the Irish rider was one of eight who went clear in the opening round out of a field of seventy-four in the 1m50 Telus Cup, and held third place in the jump-off until last to go Steve Guerdat of Switzerland took the class with Albfuehren’s Happiness, coming home a second clear of Canada’s Eric Lamaze on Chacco Kid with US rider Hardin Towell fractions behind on SF Ariantha.

Later in the day Broderick, riding his Olympic horse MHS Going Global and O’Connor on board Good Luck both made the jump-off in the 1m60 Akita Drilling Cup. The two Irish riders delivered clear rounds again in the 18-way decider, with Broderick’s time placing him 8th overall and O’Connor taking 10th.

Italy’s Lorenzo De Luca won the event riding the Irish-bred Limestone Grey with whom he won a number of classes at this year’s Dublin Horse Show. “I took this horse with me in Dublin and Hickstead and he was very good over there,” said the Italian rider. “Today he jumped very well, so I am very happy.” De Luca outpaced Belgian Olivier Philippaerts (H&M Challenge vd Begijnakker) who held sway for a long time as the jump-off unfolded, with Dutch rider Frank Schuttert (Winchester HS) then splitting the two to take second.

Today’s feature classes are the 1m50 ATCO Founders Classic and the 1m60 CANA Cup. On Sunday the venue will host the CP International Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, which carries $2 million in prize money.

At Saugerties New York yesterday Kevin Babington took second with Mark Q in the opening event of the latest week of action in the Hits series behind American Ali Wolff and Caya. Babington also placed 4th with Double O Seven 7 in the $34,600 contest. Third place was claimed by Colombian Juan Manuel Gallego on Coulash van de Broy Z.