Michael Duffy and Joseph Trunkfield staged one of the great showjumping duels as they shared the Ripon Select Foods Puissance title on an unforgettable night at Horse of the Year Show in Birmingham.
On one of the truly great occasions in the show’s 72-year history, a capacity crowd roared its approval in the Andrews Bowen International Arena.
Michael and Joseph literally rose to the occasion, facing off in the fifth and final round with the famous red puissance wall standing at 2.16m (7ft 1in), before both clearing it with ease to share the top spot.
Guy Williams and Mr Blue Sky Uk – they bowed out in round four – took third on a night that showcased equestrian sport at its brilliant best.
It was 26-year-old Michael’s second win of the day, having landed the Grandstand Challenge Cup just hours earlier, with Rmf Charly delivering more success for him as the battle with Joseph and eight-year-old Senators Rhondaigo went to the wire.
Michael, who is from Galway but now based with fellow Irish international showjumper Shane Breen in West Sussex, said: “The only thing we got wrong tonight was that it didn’t go big enough! I think my horse could go for any record.
“The puissance is such a spectacle – an amazing show of power and bravery – and my horse has that in abundance.
“I had never done a puissance before with this horse. My only one before this one was 10 years ago at Dublin Horse Show, when I was second, so a 50 per cent strike-rate!
“It is just great to be back with a crowd indoors and people enjoying themselves.”
Joseph, who is from Oakham in Leicestershire, did his first puissance just a fortnight ago, but he belied that lack of experience by matching Michael stride for stride.
“My first puissance was only two weeks ago, so this is just absolutely crazy,” Joseph said.
“Three years ago I came here and did the national classes, and now this. It feels totally surreal.”
* Audio interview with Michael Duffy and Joseph Trunkfield, joint-winners of the Ripon Select Foods Puissance
For more information on Horse of the Year Show 2019, please contact Horse of the Year Show Press Office, Grandstand Media Ltd. Tel: 02476 858205. Email: [email protected]