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He rode many great horses including Iris Kellett's Pele with which he won the Hickstead Derby in 1975 and by the mid-1970s had joined Eddie Macken to compete under the banner of the tobacco company PJ Carroll in a sponsorship deal that ran for 12 long and very successful years."By the time I arrived at Waterside, Pele and Heather Honey were already retired to the field for some time.I knew Paul by his reputation as one of the world's greatest speed riders and for his versatility.He turned the whole competition around and we came out the winners at the end of the day but it was his determination not to give in that changed everything." When Princess Haya moved on to Europe, Paul continued to train and Dermott Lennon, who went on to win the World title at Jerez in 2001, was his pupil for over a year while, more recently, Irish-based Marie Burke and her stallion Chippison have been benefiting from Darragh's expertise as they have worked their way steadily up to the top level of the sport.
Tributes have been pouring in for this man whose influence on the sport of show jumping has extended over almost 40 years and Dr Austin Mescal, president of the RDS, yesterday said that Paul "raised the profile of Irish equestrianism both here and abroad.
They both went out there to give it a full lash, nothing less would ever be good enough." Paul competed in the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988 and in 1994 began training both Princess Haya, King Hussein's young daughter who had big ambitions in the sport, and her Team Harmony string of horses at his base in Waterside Stud where he ran a hugely successful training, sales and breeding business with his close friend Alaine Storme.
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