The result of this year’s Badminton Horse Trials was certainly very interesting from a breeder’s point of view.
The powerful, athletic mare Paulank Brockagh is a tribute to the current trends in Irish breeding of combining strong continental jumping stallions onto more traditionally bred Thoroughbred and Irish Draught influenced mares. Her sire is the late international showjumper Touchdown.
Touchdown himself was an early example of using warmblood stallions in Ireland, being a son of the globally significant Selle Francais sire Galoubet A crossed onto a Thoroughbred show jumping mare. Galoubet has launched many jumping dynasties such as his multiple World Cup winning son Baloubet de Rouet, currently the WBFSH leading sire of show jumpers. Another son, Quick Star, is third on that same list.
Touchdown enjoyed a successful international show jumping career. In 1992, he was the highest placed Irish show jumper at the Barcelona Olympics and he was a member of the winning Aga Khan Cup team in Dublin in the same year.
At stud, his best progeny to date is the mare Liscalgot, on whom Dermot Lennon won individual gold at the World Equestrian Games in Jerez in 2002. Liscalgot has thoroughbred on her dam side through her dam sire Tula Rocket, who hails from the Relic sire line, a line that often appears in sporthorse pedigrees.
Around the incredibly influential cross country track, Sam Griffith’s mare showed the great scope and power she has inherited from her sire line, and the stamina and relentless gallop from her Thoroughbred ancestors. On a true 4 star test, the combination of power and quality was undeniable.
The second placed horse, Armada, again combines warmblood jumping blood with Thoroughbred quality. Armada’s breeder Ramon Beca has hit upon a winning formula by using the Thoroughbred stallion Fines on to Berganza, a daughter of the Hanoverian stallion Golfi. Armada’s full brother Nereo was also competing at Badminton, and there are at least two other full siblings that are advanced eventers. Armada himself has an admirable record at 4 star level, that demonstrates his ability and soundness.
Fines proved his toughness on the racetrack and that toughness has certainly been passed on to his sons. Golfi is a grandson of one of the most significant stallions in Hanoverian show jumping breeding – Gotthard. That combination of warmblood power and jumping ability, heavily influenced by Thoroughbred blood, is clearly shown in both the winner and the runner up.
The third placed horse Wild Lone, on first viewing appears to be a more traditionally bred Irish Sport Horse. His sire Doranstown Hallo was a part Thoroughbred Grade B show jumper and his dam again carries a lot of Thoroughbred blood through her sire. However, what is interesting is that Doranstown Hallo hails from the same sire line as Paulank Brockagh, that of the Selle Francais stallion Alme. While the winner is a descendent of Alme’s great son Galoubet A, Wild Lone hails from Alme’s Olympic Show Jumping son Animo. Animo actually stood in the UK for the later part of his career and has produced Andiamo Z, Billy Orange, Billy Burr and Robin Hood W.
In 4th place we have the horse that many spectators thought had the competition in their grasp, Paul Tapner’s striking grey Kilronan. After two very strong phases, Kilronan went into the final show jumping phase with two fences in hand but, unfortunately, that was not to be enough. Kilronan is the highest placed horse in the results without any warmblood influences in his breeding. His sire Ghareeb was an HIS Premium stallion who more recently stood in Ireland at Kiltealy Stud. Ghareeb’s sire was one of my personal favorites, the champion racehorse Dancing Brave, with Derby winner Shirley Heights on his dam side. Besides Kilronan, Ghareeb has produced the international event horses Coolio and Trig Point.
On the dam side, Kilronan’s pedigree carries some great Irish Draught names such as Ballyard Light and the legendary King of Diamonds. Interestingly Coolio carries King of Diamonds in the same place in his family tree.
The Selle Francais influence is not limited to the top three finishers. In 5th place, we see the first horse with an actual Selle Francais passport, Minos de Petra. He is a grandson of the influential French sire Grand Veneur, who produced among others the international show jumping sires Le Tot de Semilly and Major de la Cour. The addition of Anglo Arab blood ensured the necessary speed and stamina for eventing, but the influence of the show jumping genes cannot be denied.
The final horse to mention in 6th place is the British bred Billy Beware. Pippa Funnell’s powerful, long striding mount was bred by Pippa, her husband William and his business partner Donal Barnwell. This inexperienced horse impressed with his sheer scope, and although he looks a big horse for Pippa to hold together, he is certainly very interesting.
His sire Kannan is yet another show jumping sire, currently sitting in 2nd place on the WBFSH rankings, and is sire of Olympic gold medalist Nino des Buisonnets. On the dam side is the Holstein stallion Cavalier Royale, such a revelation to the Irish sporthorse industry. The picture is completed by a Thoroughbred dam line that has produced the young licensed stallion Billy Dinero and the international show jumper Billy Grand.
The importance of the warmblood at one of the toughest 4 star tests seen for a long time is evident, but what we as breeders can take from this, is the importance of balancing the right show jumping bloodlines with the necessary Thoroughbred influence.