KAREN Feleki won the Intermediate Championship for the second year in a row at the AIRC (Association of Irish Riding Clubs) Eventing Championships at Lisgarvan House near Ballon, Co. Carlow.
Almost 50 riders contested the competition, where the Carne rider held a 4.3 penalty margin over her fellow clubmate Vicky Clooney on ‘Gentle Bouncer’ after the dressage phase.
Feleki’s 11-year-old skewbald gelding, ‘Archibald Wells’, registered 23.2 after dressage, but had a pole down over Tony Ennis’ course to leave just 0.3 penalties between the two Carne members before the final phase.
The Duncormick resident, however, sealed the win after a clear round across the country, which left Feleki on a total of 27.2, just head of Vicky Clooney in second on 27.5, while Des Williams (‘Byrneskill Sam’) was two penalties adrift in third for Rock of Cashel.
Feleki said afterwards: “I’ve owned ‘Archie’ for about four and a half years now and we have such a great relationship as we know each other inside and out.
“We had a very similar outcome to last year, with a very good dressage score with four show jumping penalties, which made me have to ride faster than I would have liked out cross-country.
“We went with no expectations and I’m delighted to bring the cup home for another year,” said Feleki.
35 riders contested the Advanced Primary championship, where Ruth Daunt claimed the spoils on ‘Destination Unknown’. The Ballycanew rider was lying in fifth place after dressage, but after a clear show jumping round and a foot-perfect cross-country performance, the Enniscorthy resident climbed the leader board on her 19-year-old bay mare into pole position.
Border Counties member Sarah Lester was leading after dressage, but dropped out of contention when ‘Cloncaw Smartie’ picked up 10 penalties after show jumping to finish outside the top six on 31.3.
Thomasina O’Reilly also capitalised on the misfortunes of others, after the jumping phases ruled three other riders out of contention to allow the Mosstown rider to move up the leader board into second place on her dressage score of 24.4 on ‘Rosscon Camille’. Thomastown and District’s Faith Morris (‘Bridgestone Boy’) followed closely behind in third place on 25.2.
Daunt said afterwards: “I’ve evented for my club for many years now, so it was really special to win at the championships. ‘Destination Unknown’ is a super honest mare, who just loves her cross-country. Lucky for us, it all fell into place on Sunday.”
Just two riders in the young horse division completed the day on their dressage score, with Ciara Kelly taking the top spot on the four-year-old bay gelding, ‘Juan De Reves’.
The Castledermot rider’s score of 34.8 gave Kelly a narrow winning margin of less than two penalties over Geraldine McMahon on the John Lowry-bred ‘Greenlough Hero’.
The Unicorn rider added four penalties in the show jumping phase to finish on 36.5 to take the blue ribbon, with Tom Whyte in third place on ‘Ardagh Dun N Dusted’, who had nothing to add to the Mosstown rider’s dressage score of 38.8.
In the Advanced Intermediate championship, where 23 riders started, Kathryn Tottenham recorded a win on ‘Rosheen Diamond Imp’. The Greenvalley rider was in second place after dressage behind Sharon O’Connor on 32.0, but the Ashbrook rider dropped out of contention after her 11-year-old grey ID mare picked up 12 penalties in show jumping.
Tottenham, however, held it together to take the title on her 14-year-old bay gelding, who put in a faultless performance in the jumping phases to finish on 34.0, while Fiona Fitton (‘Ballinhassig Prince’) and Kate O’Shea (‘Send Me On’) took second and third respectively on 36.8 and 38.0.
Caroline McQuillan narrowly missed out on retaining her Open and Advanced Open title on ‘Foxtail Orchid’ after the Border Counties rider added just 0.4 penalties to her dressage to finish on 28.2. This was just behind Louise Bloomer on 26.7 after the Hollybrook rider put in a faultless performance across the country to finish on her dressage score on the 11-year-old bay gelding, ‘Hollybrook Star’, to claim the title for the Wicklow based club.
Meanwhile in the Primary Combined Training class, Cheryl Keogh, who was lying in sixth place after dressage, claimed the spoils for Coole Lane after ‘Dizzy Izzy’ produced the only clear round of the competition over the coloured poles on 41.0.
Second place went to Deirdre Deegan on ‘Dexters Pride’ on 46.8, after the Border Counties rider picked up eight penalties in the show jumping phase.