A TEMPLEPATRICK-based horse and rider have scooped a million dollar prize pot at one of showjumping’s biggest events.
Sameh El Dahan and Suma’s Zorro won the Rolex CP International at the Spruce Meadows Masters - the richest class in the world.
El Dahan and the mare are based at Sycamore Stables, run by Templepatrick woman Joanne Sloan Allen.
In one of his biggest wins to date, Egypt's El Dahan and the Kilkenny-bred horse beat off some of the best combinations in the world to snatch victory in the event.
Taking to Facebook, an ecstatic Sloan Allen wrote: “What a day, what a mare and what a rider - sometimes everything just comes together at the right moment and that’s what dreams are made of.
“Fourteen years ago a little chestnut filly was born who believed nothing was impossible and luckily three months later fate made her cross my path - another stubborn chestnut mare who believes nothing is impossible and dreams are made - then seven years from that a revolution in Egypt made the triad complete - Sam came into all our lives and our journey to this started.”
“Sam, what can I say that hasn’t been said - we live, breathe, cry, fight and laugh together - it’s been a hell of a year but it’s been worth it.
“You have now won two five star Grand Prix and the richest class in the world in our favourite country surrounded by the love and support from our global family.
“My Zorro - you will always be that feisty chestnut foal who could - you jumped a five bar gate the first day you arrived just because it was there and you have never stopped surprising us every day since - you are an example of all that makes the Irish horse great - a mixture of heritage, breeds and blood and a fighting spirit instilled in our horses down the generations.
“Zorro today you have proved that giants truly do come in all sizes - you may be small in stature but today you proved to the world you are a champion.
“To everyone who has ever dreamed let this inspire you - work hard, dream big and never give up.”
Speaking after his win El Dahan said: “This is one of the biggest achievements of my career.
“The feeling is indescribable.
“I need a few days to make sure everything sinks in and believe that it actually happened.
“Going forward, the four Majors which make up the Rolex Grand Slam will be at the top of my list to compete at.”