LOUGHANMORE was bathed in glorious sunshine for the latest Northern Region event when the County Antrim venue was shown in all its glory. The Dennison family had spared no efforts to ensure that their wonderful estate was in pristine shape for competitors in the 16 classes on offer. These athletes had travelled from far and near to experience the superb courses, designed and built by Adam Stevenson with assistance from Georgia Stubington and Henry Evans. They revamped a number of fences including the famous ‘Steps’ and the ‘Sunken Road’. The extensive acreage of the estate allowed for five top class galloping courses, which provided plenty of technical challenges across the board.
Aaron McCusker’s two show jumping arenas were built in full view of the spectacular 17th century house, which acted as an impressive backdrop to the many photographs and videos of proceedings.
It was lovely to see newly crowned Silver medallist, Tom Rowlatt-McCormick, as a spectator and supporter of his brother Ben, who was competing in the EI 100 class. Tom, who was greeted like a film star, brought his medal and rosettes and was interviewed about his experience by commentator extraordinaire, Paul Nolan. Northern Region is exceptionally proud of all the Underage Athlete performances but, particularly, that of their very own Tom.
The EI 115 Open class was won by Steven Smith riding Terry Johnston’s 14-year-old ‘Porsch’ gelding, ‘Hi Happy Harry’. They led from the outset and, despite lowering a coloured rail, ended with an advantage in excess of one over Sarah Ennis, who occupied the next three placings.
Jonathan Steele took the honours in the EI 115 class on board ‘Zermatt’, Caroline Keatley’s nine-year-old gelding sired by ‘Centrestage’. This was their first foray at this level and the combination was the only one of the four starters to show jump clear. They finished over 11 points ahead of Toni Quail and ‘Wellan Summertime’, who were the early leaders in the Vanda Stewart judged class, but were relegated to second place following the displacement of two show jumping fences.
Ella Boyle had a very successful day, winning both classes she had entered. She claimed the spoils in the EI 110 Open class with her mother’s 11-year-old Trakener gelding, ‘Grafenstolz Distinction’, replicating her performance at Rosanna in June. Samantha Dale’s 11-year-old mare, ‘Threeseas’, occupied the runner up spot with Anita Doherty on board.
Rosie Gomes reserved her top marks in the EI 110 class for Suzanne Hagan riding ‘Karolita O’, a seven-year-old mare by ‘Firestone’, owned by Anne Magee and Jane Hancock. Show jumping was extremely influential and one fence down paved the way for Adam Haugh to take the lead with ‘GH Andorra’, who was one of only two in the class to keep the coloured poles intact.
There were just three starters in the EI 110 J class and, again, Aaron McCusker’s show jumping track was responsible for rejigging the order after the first phase. In the end, it was a victory on home turf for Anna McCaldin and ‘Albert V1’, a gelding by the Dutch stallion, ‘Timeless’. Anna White and ‘Kilcoltrim Dora’ finished in second place, just half a point adrift.
Molly O’Connor led from pillar to post in the EI 110P class, acquiring the best dressage mark of the day with her father, Paul O’Connor’s, 12-year-old gelding, ‘Coolnaleen Rebel’, with whom she has clocked up an impressive record, including at both Ballindennisk and Millstreet Internationals this year. They were just less than two points ahead of Dungannon’s Erin Mathieson with ‘Longwood Dawn’.
There was plenty to celebrate in Glaslough on Saturday night as local girl, Bernadette Curry, took the win in the Penny Sangster judged EI 100 Amateur class. Sitting second after dressage, Bernadette moved up one place following an unfortunate fall by the first phase leader, Christina Turley, who managed to sprain her hand. An equally delighted Lucy Toombs took second place with Alison Smith’s gelding, ‘Bluestone Ice’, who added nothing to their first phase score.
There doesn’t seem to be any stopping 12-year-old Kitty Cullen, who has amassed an amazing six wins since she ‘came of age’ for eventing this year. This week, she took the win in the EI 100 P class with Jane Hancock’s ‘Coppenagh Spring Sparrow’, keeping both jumping phases clean, which gave her a 1.5 advantage over Alex O’Hare and ‘Greylands Diamond Girl’.
No stranger to success, Abby Cummiskey, finished on a superb dressage mark of 22.5 with Sandi Thompson’s ‘Crackerjack V111’. This was just their sixth outing this year, as A levels studies got in the way of play! Another combination equally affected by studies, Bethany Smith, occupied second place with Declan Cullen’s fabulous gelding, ‘Dun Surprise’.
Almost 30 competitors tackled the challenges of the EI 100 class, where Steven Smith rose to the fore with ‘CJO Kann Surprise’, owned by Caroline Overend and Carla Leitch. The first phase leader and regular victor, Elaine O’Connor and ‘Sir Barnabus’, had an unfortunate four jumping faults which dropped them two places. Second spot went to Adam Haugh with ‘FJK Back To The Future’, a five-year-old gelding by ‘Future Trend’, who won at Necarne back in May.
Vanda Stewart awarded her top marks in the EI 90 Amateur class to Eve McDowell riding her 10-year-old piebald gelding, ‘Nakuti’, who have had all but one placing in the top five this year. Coming in behind was Lisa Wallace on her fourth outing with her Holsteiner mare, ‘Ders Sumthing about Mary’, who added just a fraction of a time penalty to the flatwork mark.
It would appear that the bubbles are still flowing in Tullymurry, as they continue to celebrate the success of ‘Tullymurry Grace’, who won the EI 90 class on just her second outing under the guidance of David O’Connor. This very special four-year-old mare was bred by the Tullymurry ‘Matriach’, Marian Turley, by ‘Chillout’ out of ‘Tullymurry Holly’, who was very successfully campaigned by Elaine O’Connor. This very promising combination added nothing to their dressage score to finish one point clear of Victoria Clarke and her five-year-old ‘Lancelot’ gelding, ‘Fun Time Frankie’.
The EI 90 P class saw Erin McClernon complete at the top of the leaderboard with ‘Sundance 111’, having jumped clear in both phases. Sarah Gilchrist did likewise with her father’s ‘Hazeldene Mighty Max’, a combination who have enjoyed three wins and a number of other top three placings this year.
Once again, the three training classes proved very popular. Ella Boyle took her second victory of the day in the EI 100T class with ‘Denali’, followed by Laura Kee and ‘Ballymullan Jodie’.
12-year-old Maya Constable from Belfast had an incredible win in the EI 90T class with the very accomplished pony, ‘Duncarbery Cascade’, previously campaigned very successfully by Katie Robinson. Conor Savage was second by a margin of 0.1 with Millie Morrison’s ‘Seaworthy FF’.
Almost 30 competitors contested the EI 80T class, where victory went to Helen Sawey riding ‘Rachra Supreme’, her seven-year-old gelding by the Connemara stallion, ‘Ballybeg JJ’. They moved up one place from dressage following the allocation of four jumping penalties to Ian McCluggage, who was riding ‘Meadowbank’, Lindsay Martin’s lovely six-year-old gelding.
The Northern Region extends a huge and sincere thank you to the Dennison Family for, once again, facilitating them at their beautiful venue, which gives members a rare opportunity for good galloping courses in very picturesque parkland setting.
Thanks, too, to Adam Stevenson for all his hard work and appreciation also goes to Georgia Stubington and Henry Evans for many hours of painstaking work painting, strimming, mowing and revamping a number of fences.
As ever, thank you to all the volunteers, who are simply amazing selfless friends who give up their Saturdays to allow the sport to function.
Next week (August 13) sees the Northern Region return to Castle Irvine, Necarne for the second time this year.
If you can help on the day, please contact Dora on 07876 758979.
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