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Show Jumping - Kerrygold Grand Prix League - Courtney's Dramatic Win Takes Her To Third In Table

There was a dramatic conclusion to today's Grand Prix at Ennis as Linda Courtney claimed first place by less than a tenth of a second in a gripping jump-off against the clock.

Carrying prize money of 6000 euro and the bounus of Super League points status, there was never a doubt that the event would be compelling, but few could have imagined the nerve-tingling fashion in which the outcome would be decided.

Ten riders went into the jump-off against the clock, having faultlessly negotiated Alan Wade's testing course in the splendid conditions.

Damien Doyle went first and produced a second clear on Baronessa in 45.71. Eddie Maloney then set a stiffer target of 43.44 on Jarnick, and this was quickly sharpened to 42.48 by Ronan Clarke on his own Athletico 26, before Danielle Quinlivan on Newmarket Jewel took over the lead with 41.50.

At that point there were just three left to jump, including in-form Harry Marshall on Splendido who would be last to go. Shane Breen seized the initiative by steering Luandra clear in 39.76, only for Linda Courtney to take Cavaleve clear and stop the clock a hair-splitting six-hundreths of a second better at 39.70.

Only Harry Marshall remained between the Belfast rider and victory, but Marshall had his sights set not just on the competition, but on leadership of the League table as well.

It was obvious that they were setting a winning pace, and Courtney admitted afterwards that she had turned away, as Splendido cleared fence after fence. Then, in a moment of high drama, the horse took too tight a turn towards the second last and, off-stride, caught the back bar to deny the Ballyclare rider his day of Grand Prix glory.

Agonisingly for Marshall, his time was almost two seconds better than Courtney's.

Linda Courtney, who said afterwards that she felt the course was very technical and asked enough questions of the competitors, now enters the top six in the League table, having picked up 15 points for today's success.

RESULT: Co. Clare Agricultural Show Society Ltd GRAND PRIX
sponsored by Roche Ireland
Saturday 12th July 2003
Venue: Ennis
Prize Money: 6000 Euro

1) CAVALEVE (Owner Linda Courtney); Linda Courtney Faults 0/0 Time 39.70
2) LUANDRA (Owner Shane Breen); Shane Breen Faults 0/0 Time 39.76
3) NEWMARKET JEWEL (Owner Billy Daly); Danielle Quinlivan Faults 0/0 Time 41.50
4) ATHLETICO 26 (Owner Ronan Clarke); Ronan Clarke Faults 0/0 Time 42.48
5) GOLD FINGERS (Owner Michael A Leddy); Glen Leddy 0/0 Time 43.29
6) JAYNICK (Owner Eddie Moloney); Eddie Moloney Faults 0/0 Time 43.44

33 starters, ten riders through to jump-off

KERRYGOLD GRAND PRIX Rankings after Ennis Super League 6000 Euro Grand Prix,
Co. Clare (Saturday 12 July)
1) James Kernan 56 points
2) Harry Marshall 48 points
3) Linda Courtney 46 points
4) Peter Smyth 40 points
5) Andrew Dunlop 36 points
6) Clem McMahon 35 points


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