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This One’s for Jack Dodd

©Stefano Grasso/LGCT

“My best friend Jack Dodd, he died in a car crash a few years ago,” shared a tearful Michael Duffy in the post-class interview from Miami. “I always said, when I win my first one, I want to dedicate it to him.”

On Saturday, Duffy made that five-star dream a reality. The 29-year-old Irishman won his first 1.60m Grand Prix title at the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) Miami.

Fifth to return in a nine-horse jump off rife with world-class talent, Duffy and Claptonn Mouche were the first pair to post a double clear, flying to and taking a flier at the last.

Then came the nerve-wracking wait as he watched Eduardo Alvarez Aznar (ESP) and Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot, Max Kühner (GER) on EIC Cooley Jump the Q, Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Rr Combella, and Malin Baryard-Johnsson (SWE) with H&M Indiana Four chase their time—and drop rails in the process.

In the end, Duffy and the 12-year-old Selle Français gelding were the only pair to post a double clear on the day to take the win.

It’s not only his first five-star Grand Prix title, but his first Grand Prix win over the 1.45m height. The Irishman has an impressive 160 podium finishes and €1.14 million in earnings to his name, including 70 victories, according to Jumpr Stats. His seven prior Grand Prix wins, however, were at the 1.40m–1.45m height.

“It’s been a while coming now,” said Duffy of his first 1.60m Grand Prix title. “It’s probably about time we got our fingers out and did something. It’s amazing, I’m a bit lost for words… I’m not the biggest talker but even more so this time. I have no words.

“It’s tough jumping here [in Miami], it is so delicate—the white pole–oxer in the jump-off, it was just delicate. So I wanted to be as quick as I can and leave the jumps up to get the job done.”

The win is his second in Miami in as many days. Duffy was also a member of the Rome Gladiators three rider/four horse team that won the Global Champions League Miami team class on Friday, contributing a clear in the first round with Claptonn Mouche.

It’s a new partnership for the Irishman. Bred by Gaec Mouche and sired by Conrad, Claptonn Mouche was previously campaigned by Daniel Deusser (GER) and Petronella Andersson (SWE) and averages just 0.7 faults over six career rounds at 1.60m height (Jumpr). Duffy took over the reins in 2024. Miami marks their first podium finish.

With that Grand Prix win, Duffy has now earned a coveted ticket to the LGCT Super Grand Prix at the GC Riyadh Playoffs in November.

“I spent the last 10 years watching all these good guys winning classes and trying to catch up with them. So it’s great,” he said. “It’s nice to get it done early as well, we can sit back and program a bit toward the Playoffs in Riyadh.”

Where you won’t find him ahead of next week’s LGCT Mexico leg: soaking up the sun in Miami.

“I wouldn’t be a great man for the beach. You’d need sunglasses with my white skin. We’ll just hang out here and let the horses chill out.”

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