Tipperary’s Shane Breen claimed his first ever Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix victory under lights at Monaco tonight and took home prize money of 99,000 euro.
Fellow Tipperary rider Denis Lynch also took third place in the jump-off, riding RMF Bella Baloubet, and won 45,000 euro.
In a dramatic contest, only six combinations made it through to the final round from a starting field of 33, with the tight course and formidable fences on Frank Rothenberger’s course taking out many of the world’s top riders.
In the end Lynch and Breen, riding the ten year-old stallion Ipswich van de Wolfsakker, were the only two Irish riders to come home clear in the first round.
Lynch, third last to go on the 17 year-old grey RMF Bella Baloubet, recorded the jump-off’s first clear round, but he was quickly followed by Italian star Alberto Zorzi with the 13 year-old mare Fair Light van T Heike, who managed to shave more than four seconds off the Irishman’s time.
Breen, who was now faced with the pressure of beating the fastest clear round on the board, nevertheless rode a masterful round and shaved 16 hundredths of a second off the Italian’s score, claiming the Grand Prix and booking a ticket for the Longines Super Grand Prix in Prague, where just 18 riders will compete for a substantial prize pot of 1.25 million euro in December.
Afterwards Breen, who is now based at Hickstead in England, said: “It’s very special to win my first ever Longines Global Champions Grand Prix and I have to say that Ipswich van de Wolfsakker was just incredible. We were a little slow at the beginning but at the end I felt he could have given me even more, he was loving it so much. I’m delighted, as you can see.”