SATURDAY represented a very special day in the hearts and minds of many Eventing Ireland members, when they had another opportunity to compete at the absolutely stunning venue of Castle Irvine, Necarne. For some, it was their first opportunity to compete on the ‘hallowed turf’ and for others, it was a trip down ‘memory lane’, while for the many spectators it was an ideal day to experience the incredible bond and the trust between rider and horse, as they took on the challenges of the range of bold fences including the new drawbridge. The heavy rainfall in the lead up to Saturday was disappointing, but Vina Buller and her team of Tony McManmon, Noel Fitzpatrick, Stephen and Robert Orr, augmented by the team from Castle Irvine, Necarne spent many hours preparing for this day and their efforts certainly resulted in a top class event at a world class venue.
Olympian, Sarah Ennis, had a very worthwhile trip to the Co. Fermanagh estate with four horses claiming two firsts and two seconds. She took the win in the EI 120 class with Andrew Cox’s eight-year-old ‘Plot Blue’ mare, ‘Action Lady M’, who was making her first appearance since competing in Burnham Market International last month. They remained clear of jumping penalties, adding just time faults to their first phase score to finish with a half-point advantage over her second mount, ‘Grantstown Jackson’, owned by Susanna Francke and Peter Cole. This 11-year-old gelding by ‘Clover Brigade’ retained his second place after dressage, despite lowering a coloured pole.
Amanda Goldsbury continued her good run of results in the EI 115 Open class with Nicola Roden’s ‘Fernhill Inspector’. The 11-year-old gelding by the Westphalian sire, ‘Tinaranas Inspector’, led from the outset and finished over five points clear of Waterford’s Heather O’Connor riding her ‘Puissance’ gelding, ‘HSH has it All’, which last won at this level at Lightsource BP Tyrella 2.
Declan Cullen took centre stage in the EI 115 class with his eight-year-old gelding, ‘Ultimate Quality’. Declan, who has been very fulsome in his praise of Vina Buller’s five courses at Necarne, delivered one of only five clear rounds over Aaron McCusker’s show jumping track, set up in the incredible ‘Walled Garden’. Edie Murray-Hayden took the runner up spot with her traditional Irish Horse, ‘Sandyhill Ceol’.
Horse Sport Ireland generously provided funding for three aged classes to showcase horses bred and produced in Ireland. The seven-year-old class was won by Sarah Ennis and ‘Dourough Ferro’, a gelding bred by Gordon Drury by the sire ‘S Creevagh Ferro Ex Siebe’. They led by almost seven points after dressage and added just time penalties to that first phase score to give them a significant lead over second placed Ian Cassells and ‘Rosconnell Alto’, a gelding by ‘Tabasco Van Erpekom’.
The EI 110 Open class was won by 19-year-old Dublin student, Clodie Coen riding Martin Coen’s ‘Union Fortunus’, a gelding by the Hannovarian stallion, ‘Heritage Fortunus’. Clodie moved up one place from dressage, adding just cross-country time penalties to that mark, giving her an advantage in excess of 11 points on second placed Nicola Ennis with her seven-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, ‘Dawn Arrival’.
Co. Antrim’s Alex Houston meant business in the EI 110 class, where she claimed the top spot with the home-bred Irish Sport Horse, ‘Atlantic Rockstar’. The seven-year-old ‘Beach Ball’ gelding was bred by Alex and her father, Sam, out of ‘Missey Elliott’ on whom Alex competed at the European Young Riders Championships at Blair Castle in 2011. They finished fractionally ahead of Rachael Thompson and ‘Govalent’, the ‘Valent’-sired gelding owned by Lisa Rosbotham, who has been clocking up very impressive results in recent weeks.
The HSI sponsored six-year-old class was won by Ian Cassells with Gerry Leahy’s ‘Millridge Athos’, a gelding by the Thoroughbred, ‘Grand Gayle’. They kept the jumping phases clear, just adding time penalties to give them a fraction of an advantage over Sarah Ennis on Eilish Arkwright and Sarah Odlum’s gelding, ‘Diamond Fusion’.
There were just six starters in the EI 110 J class, where the honours went to 16-year-old Julia Adams from Maynooth, who replicated her win at Lisgarvan last month with her father, Michael Adams’s ‘Milchem Ardeo’. Northern Region member, Rebekah McKinstry took second place with the Connemara Pony, ‘Cornhill Rose’.
The EI 110 pony class was dominated by the Williamson family from Co. Meath, who had three of the five entries. Josh took the win with Carol Swan’s ‘Rockon Pedro’, having benefitted from the fact that the early leader, Erin Mathieson knocked two fences on ‘Longwood Dawn’ and had to settle for second place.
Marketing Manager with Wilsons Auctions, Tori Dixon, continues to set very high standards in the EI 110 Amateur class, where she made it five consecutive wins with ‘Mawillan’, although this was just their second appearance this year. They scored an impressive 23.2 in dressage, which gave them almost eight points advantage over nearest rival Denis Currie and ‘Arodstown Aramis’, who was the only combination in the class to complete clear show jumping.
Adam Haugh rose to the fore in the HSI-sponsored five-year-old class with the William Walsh-bred gelding, ‘FJK Back to the Future’. They finished on their first phase score over two points clear of Jonathan Steele riding Fran Rowlatt-McCormick’s ‘Centrestage’ gelding, ‘Mon Ami Beauvallet’, who also completed on their flatwork mark.
New mum, Christina Turley had plenty to celebrate, as she repeated her Hazeldene victory with ‘Ann’s Bob’, adding just over two time penalties to her dressage score. She made it a family outing by travelling down to Necarne on the Friday with her partner, Ciaran Kearney and baby daughter, Sadie. Christine McVeigh was equally delighted with her second placing on ‘Keeford Elamo’ and was one of only two in the class to finish on their dressage scores.
No stranger to success, Tom Nestor added another rosette to his collection by winning the EI 100 P class with his father’s pony ‘Freddie’, who came third in the recent Ballindenisk International competition. They finished on a very impressive dressage score of 22.3, followed by 12-year-old Kitty Cullen riding Jane Hancock’s ‘Coppenagh Spring Sparrow’, who also finished on her first phase score, making it a very successful day for the Cullen family.
There were just three starters in the EI 100 J class but the winner, Godfrey Gibbons, gave a very good account of himself by earning a first phase score of 24 and adding just four show jumping penalties to give him a 4.2 margin over second placed Caoimhe Crozier and ‘Hill Monarch’.
Tullymurry’s Elaine O’Connor returned to winning ways in the EI 100 class with her amazing four-legged partner, Helen Fletcher’s ‘Sir Barnabus’. This was, in fact, their seventh win, clearly marking them as one of the Northern Region’s most successful partnerships. Freya Kennedy came in fractionally behind on ‘Kirktown Bob’s Song’, having no jumping issues and one of the few combinations to finish inside the optimum time.
This week Paddy Hughes of Horse First, a keen follower, supporter and sponsor of Northern Region, provided three vouchers to the EI 90 classes, each to the value of £100 to be spent on Horse First products. 16 riders contested the EI 90 Amateur class, where the win went to Hannah Thompson riding Rachael F Thompson’s ‘Loughry Lad’ mare, ‘Jemeela Charm’. Clearly, Necarne is lucky for this team, as they also won at Necarne 2 last August. On this occasion, they were the only pairing to finish inside time. Lucy Toombs occupied the runner up spot with Alison Smith’s ‘Creevagh Grey Rebel’ mare, ‘Bluestone Ice’.
There were 20 starters in the EI 90 class, where the win went to Caroline Lynch on ‘Quora’, a mare by ‘Golden Lariat’, who was just making her fourth appearance under EI rules. They finished just 0.3 adrift of second placed Jonathan Steele riding Britt Megahey’s ‘Beach Ball’ gelding, ‘Kinnego Bay’.
The two Gilchrist sisters continue friendly sibling rivalry in the EI 90 P class. Sarah enjoyed back to back victories with Daniel Gilchrist’s seven-year-old gelding bred by Andrew Napier, ‘Hazeldene Mighty Max’. This meant she was the lucky winner of one of the three Horse First vouchers. Sister, Jennifer, took second place on ‘Lackaghmore Vandango’.
Sincere thanks to Derek Keys and his staff at Necarne for hosting this event and to the incredible group of volunteers who came together to make it all possible. For some, it was their first time of being involved in an event of this magnitude and organisers really appreciate their efforts to keep the sport functioning. Huge thanks to the sponsors: Baileys Horse Feeds, Bedmax Shavings, Down Royal Corporation of Horse Breeders, Glenpatrick Horse Boxes, Hoofprints Innovations, Horse First, Horse Sport Ireland, Lightsource BP, Metal Technology, Orthoderm, Sporting Images for their continued support and loyalty. It was lovely to have the Horse Sport Ireland Young Horse classes, which showcased some of the amazingly talented horses and recognised the hard work of breeders. It was also incredible to witness the smiles on the faces of the winners of the Horse First vouchers, very kindly donated by Paddy Hughes. All of these factors came together to create an event of which Northern Region should all be justifiably proud.
With the cancellation of Finvoy, Castle Irvine, Necarne symbolises the completion of the Spring season for the Northern Region. Northern Region will resume play at Tullymurry on July 9, when an EI 80 Training class is included in the schedule.
Saturday, May 21
EI 120: 1) Sarah Ennis, Action Lady M; 2) Sarah Ennis, Grantstown Jackson; 3) Tara Dixon, Master Smart; 4) Sarah Gilkinson, Lush Upgrade; 5) Laura Birley, Bob Cotton Bandit; 6) Alex Houston, Minty Imp.
EI 115 Open: 1) Amanda Goldsbury, Fernhill Inspector; 2) Heather O’Connor, HSH Has It All; 3) Louise Bloomer, Shannondale Icarus; 4) Elizabeth Power, Greenfort Gorgeous George; 5) Elizabeth Power, Senza Fine.
EI 115: 1) Declan Cullen, Ultimate Quality; 2) Edie Murray-Hayden, Sandyhill Ceol; 3) Nicola Ennis, Out of Print; 4) Rachel Rendle, BallyvallyBay; 5) Robbie Collins, Dunrath Navigator; 6) Janie Cairns, Premier Charlie.
EI 115 (7YO): 1) Sarah Ennis, Dourough Ferro Class Act; 2) Ian Cassells, Rosconnell Alto; 3) David O’Connor, Tullymurry Hope; 4) Colin Halliday, GHS Calexico.
EI 110 Open: 1) Clodie Coen, Union Fortunus; 2) Nicola Ennis, Dawn Arrival; 3) Louise Bloomer, Herald Of Milltown.
EI 110: 1) Alex Houston, Atlantic Rockstar; 2) Rachael Thompson, Govalent; 3) Joanne Lavery, Shorttale; 4) Jonathan Steele, R Kid; 5) Connore McClory, Red Raclette; 6) Rosie Alcorn, Chrysanthos.
EI 110 (6YO): 1) Ian Cassells, Millridge Athos; 2) Sarah Ennis, Diamond Fusion; 3) Joseph Murphy, My Foxhall Kit; 4) Alyssa O’Neill, Danos Lola; 5) Adam Haugh, GH Andorra.
EI 110 J: 1) Julia Adams, Milchem Ardeo; 2) Rebekah McKinstry, Cornhill Rose; 3) Godfrey Gibbons, Milchem Free Spirit; 4) Ted O’Leary, My Ballintoghers Cracker Jack; 5) NiallWhelehan, Crested Sparrow.
EI 110 P: 1) Josh Williamson, Rockon Pedro; 2) Erin Mathieson, Longwood Dawn; 3) Carla Williamson, Galco; 4) Josh Williamson, Ardeo Fireman; 5) Tom Nestor, Tullaree Ruby Tuesday.
EI 110 Amateur: 1) Tori Dixon, Mawillan; 2) Denis Currie, Arodstown Aramis; 3) Denis Coakley, Sugar Bunnie.
EI 100 (5YO): 1) Adam Haugh, FJK Back to the Future; 2) Jonathan Steele, Mon Ami Beauvallet; 3) Victoria. Brown, Dunrath Archibald.
EI 100 Amateur: 1) Christina Turley, Ann’s Bob; 2) Christine McVeigh, Keeford Elamo; 3) Olivia Johns, Lagans Peter; 4) Bernadette Curry, Teo’s Chance; 5) Ann Bowe, Festy Breeze; 6) Nichola Wray, Springhill Showman.
EI 100 P: 1) Tom Nestor, Freddie; 2) Kitty Cullen, Coppenagh Spring Sparrow; 3) Rachel Fletcher, Lurgans Diamond Princess; 4) Connie Cullen, Ballyvary Padraig; 5) Katie Gibbons, Milchem Mischief.
EI 100J: 1) Godfrey Gibbons, Milchem Miami; 2) Caoimhe Crozier, Hill Monarch; 3) Lee Bloomfield, Totally Special.
EI 100: 1) Elaine O’Connor, Sir Barnabus; 2) Freya Kennedy, Kirktown Bob’s Song; 3) Heidi Hamilton, The Sequel; 4) Donnacha Anhold, Emperor G; 5) Leah Knight, Kings City Angel; 6) Rosie Alcorn, Goodwins Royalty.
EI 90 Amateur: 1) Hannah Thompson, Jemeela Charm; 2) Lucy Toombs, Bluestone Ice; 3) Amy Anderson, Casadh na Taoide; 4) Joanna Kelly, Centre Fold Belle; 5) Dean Salmon, Tullymurry Seana; 6) Michael Duke, Broomhill Ludo.
EI 90: 1) Caroline Lynch, Quora; 2) Jonathan Steele, Kinnego Bay; 3) Fiona Fitzgibbon, Squeaks Bubble; 4) Michael McGaffin, Rose of Mourne; 5) Beth Hayes, Largymore Lass; 6) Victoria Clarke, Fun Time Frankie.
EI 90 P: 1) Sarah Gilchrist, Hazeldene Mighty Max; 2) Jennifer Gilchrist, Lackaghmore Vandango.
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