THE eventing fratern-ity headed west on
Saturday to the Cas-tle Irvine Estate in
Irvinestown for the
latest Northern Region fix-ture. There were folk there enjoying their first taste of Necarne, others who were reminiscing about their memories of yester years but for everyone, it was a wonderful occasion even when things didn’t quite go according to plan. There is just something very magical about the venue – from the pristine Courtyard to the beautiful Walled Garden, home to the show jumping, to the incredible cross-country tracks, which take you through the woods and copses amongst the acres of beautiful mature trees.
Vina Buller, assisted by her team of Tony McManmon, Noel Fitzpatrick, Stephen Orr
and Stephen Dunlop, de-signed and built six fabulous tracks, which were fair, testing and educational and
have received many acco-lades from far and wide. Great work was done by Richard Nesbitt with the aggravator to ensure the best possible ground conditions. A tanker of water was located at the finish of cross-country to facilitate the washing down and cooling off of all horses on completion.
The spectacle of the HSI Four-Year-Old Eventing Dev-elopment class took place mid-morning. The class was judged independently by seasoned eventers, Karen Dixon and Penny Sangster and represented a wonderful opportunity to showcase young Event horses with the backdrop of the iconic Castle. These horses had to perform a three-minute ‘show’ and then proceed immediately to the jumping phases, where they were well and truly tested by the tracks. Paul Nolan deserves enormous credit for his very long stint of duty, keeping the mass gathering well informed of breeding, progress and placings.
In the end, the honours went to Alyssa O’Neill of Newbridge, Co Kildare riding the Liam Lynskey bred ‘DS Candescent’. This gelding, co-owned by Alyssa and Deborah McCann, is by ‘Sligo Candy Boy’, out of ‘Largan Lady Cruise’. The combination has already successfully competed under Eventing Ireland rules on four occasions and are now set for Dublin to compete in the Four-Year-Old event horse class, having qualified at Tullylish in July.
Second place went to Elizabeth Hayden with ‘Lis-toke Papillon’, a gelding bred by Raymond Gogan by the Holsteiner stallion ‘Caricello’, out of ‘Bridgehouse Butterfly’. Elizabeth bought him as a yearling and broke him last year. She has, justifiably, high hopes for a successful future ahead.
Allison Mercer represented HSI at the presentation when owners, breeders and riders were all recognised. Northern Region wishes these combinations every success at the Final of the Development League, which takes place at Ballindennisk International in September.
Declan Cullen proved his worth in the EI 120 class, as he moved ‘Ultimate Quality’ up to this level and was the only pairing in the class to keep all Aaron McCusker’s coloured poles intact.
This eight-year-old gelding, which he jointly owns with Marina O’Hare, sired by ‘OBOS Quality’ won the EI 115 class at Necarne 1 back in May, followed by another win at Kilguilkey.
They were followed in second place by veterinarian, Michael O’Toole riding his nine-year-old ‘Diarado’ bred gelding, ‘First Obama’.
The EI 115 Open class saw Meath’s Nicola Ennis rise to the fore with Michele Dennigan’s ‘Out of Print’, an eight-year-old gelding by ‘Out of Touch’, who placed third on their last visit to Necarne in May. Steven Smith was pipped to the post by 0.3 on ‘Hi Happy Harry’, a ‘Porsch’ gelding who took the win last week at Loughanmore. The owner, Terry Johnston, was working tirelessly as Technical Advisor for the event and missed most of his horse’s round.
Scarva rider, Suzanne Hagan
had a particularly good event, where she was par-tnering three horses. She took the win in the EI 115 on board ‘Californian Wolf’, a 10-year-old gelding owned by Kim O’Gorman. They added just time penalties in their jumping phases to give them a 2.6 margin over second placed Robyn McCluskey and her ‘Askoll Peter Pan’ mare, ‘Carsonstown Alice’.
Steven Smith was again in the honours in the EI 110 Open class, where he had a runaway victory on Virginia
Maguire’s Thoroughbred ge-
lding ‘Handsome Starr’, having been awarded the second best dressage score of the day, 16.8, by Dublin-based judge, David Lee. Despite lowering two rails, they still had an 11.5 margin over Anita Doherty on Samantha Dale’s lovely ‘Ars Vivendi’ mare, ‘Threeseas’, who provided the only clear show jumping round in the class.
Steven took his second win of the day on ‘MMF Churchill’ in the EI 110 class. This gelding, sired by ‘OBOS Quality’, is owned by Carol Moorhead and led from the outset, just adding some cross-country time penalties to their first phase mark. Suzanne Hagan occupied the runner up spot on ‘Karolita O’, owned by Anne Magee and Jane Hancock, finishing almost 18 points adrift.
It was particularly pleasing to have the recent Junior European Silver Medallist, Godfrey Gibbons, on Ne-carne’s hallowed turf, where he again showcased his eventing talent by winning the Junior EI 110 class on Marie Dunne’s six-year-old mare ‘Milchem Miami’, with almost 11 penalties spare over Anna White riding her mother’s ‘Kilcoltrim Dora’, who is seldom out of the top three.
Loughinisland rider, Molly O’Connor, made it two wins in a row with ‘Coolnaleen Rebel’ in the EI 110P class, having led from the outset. They have certainly posted some fabulous results since taking over this ride from Godfrey Gibbons last year. Another young accomplished pony rider, Erin Mathieson from Dungannon, took second place with ‘Longwood Dawn’.
There were just six starters in the EI 100 Amateur, where two riders finished neck and neck on a score of 30. Finishing closest to the optimum time and taking first place and her first red rosette was Christine McVeigh on ‘Keeford Elamo’. Christine is a full time physiotherapist with the NHS and describes herself as a true amateur, just enjoying what the sport has to offer. She has been competing her legend, ‘Smartie’, for eight years and is hoping to compete at the National Championships in September. Second place
went to last week’s Lough-anmore winner, Bernadette Curry and her Thoroughbred gelding, ‘Teo’s Chance’ who, again, fulfil the criteria of a true Amateur.
Newcastle member, Alex O’Hare, had a very good day at the office with two wins. She enjoyed her seventh win this year in the EI 100P class with ‘Greylands Diamond Girl’, having moved up two places from dressage. Sam Hamilton had been the first phase leader with ‘Cahanagh Black Flyer’, but had to settle for second place after dropping two fences in show jumping. Alex secured her second win in the EI 100T class with Sarah Hughes’s ‘Alcatraz’. This was the combination’s first outing and they were the only finishers in the three starter class.
There were back to back wins in the EI 100J class for Abby Cummiskey and Sandi Thompson’s fabulous horse, ‘Crackerjack V111’, previously campaigned by Sandi’s dau-ghter, Tola.
This current partnership has many wins to their credit and made history on Saturday by gaining the best dressage score of the day, 15.8 award-ed by David Lee. Rachael Broome occupied the second slot with ‘Nature’s Blossom’, another combination seldom out of the top three.
Over 20 competitors took on the challenge of the EI 100 class, where… surprise, surprise… Elaine O’Connor took centre stage with Helen Fletcher’s ‘Sir Barnabus’, a 13-year-old gelding by ‘Cyrano’. This combination definitely represent the face of compatibility, suitability and consistency. It was a case of keeping it in the family, as Elaine’s husband, David, took second place on Katie McKee’s gelding, ‘Summit’ who added nothing to their flatwork mark.
There was a well subscribed EI 90 Amateur class, where there was a popular win for firefighter, Rhonda Hall and her 11-year-old ‘Amiro’ gelding, ‘Red Hot Chilli Piper’. They added just time faults to their dressage score in a class where show jumping was exceptionally influential.
There was another popular win, this time in the EI 90 class, where 14-year-old Newry schoolboy, Lee Bloomfield, claimed gold on Sonya Murphy’s 11-year-old ‘Totally Special’, finishing on his first phase score. This mare is by the Thoroughbred stallion ‘Sirillio’ and has been under saddle with Lee on the last three outings. Silver medallist, Godfrey Gib-
bons, took second place with ‘Kilnamac Kasu’, moving up one placing from his last outing at Ballindennisk.
Celebrations are still continuing in Dromore for 13-year-old Charlotte Betts, who gained top marks from dressage judge, John Lyttle, in the EI 90P class with her super little pony, ‘Akaroa Bittersweet’. They kept both jumping phases clean and finished inside the time to take the red rosette. Rachel Fletcher followed almost nine points behind with ‘Peninsula Clover’, a six-year-old mare by ‘Corlough Clover’. They added just a few time penalties across country to give them a safe second placing.
The EI 90 Training class had seven entries. Top of the leaderboard was Heidi Brabazon with her five-year-old gelding, ‘Ahaziah’ making its debut under EI rules. Second place went to Cara McDonald riding her Irish Draught-bred mare, ‘Aharlow Gem’.
A delighted Lucy Orr picked up her third placed rosette on her very first foray into eventing with ‘Jazzy Susie’, previously partnered by her sister Emma-Jane. Lucy’s dad, Stephen, worked hard at Necarne assisting Vina and her team with the Course Building.
Huge thanks go to Derek Keys and Castle Irvine Estate for allowing Northern Region to use this amazing facility. Thanks to Vina Buller, Tony McManmon, Noel Fitzpatrick, Stephen Orr and all the team at Castle Irvine Estate, who have worked very hard to create such educational opp-ortunities for these horses and riders.
Thanks to all the officials and volunteers, many of whom were ‘double jobbing’ to get the positions covered, such is the dedication and enthusiasm for this wonderful sport.
Special thanks to Nichola Wray for her culinary delights and to Richard Harkness for his lovely gesture of providing a mass donation of ice lollies – perfect for the weather conditions.
The next Northern Reg-ion fixture is a Derby at Ballyvannon on Saturday, August 27, with classes at 1m, 90cm and 75/80cm. Entries can be texted to Dora on 07876 758979 with payment by Pay to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next National event takes place at Vesey Lodge on September 3, courtesy of the Wilson family.
Saturday, August 13
HSI Four-Year-Old Development League: 1) Alyssa O’Neill, DS Candescent; 2) Elizabeth Hayden, Listoke Papillon; 3) Lucy McIlroy, Imperial Wonder; 4) Godfrey Gibbons, Bonitas Influence; 5) Nicky Roncoroni, Dermish OBI; 6) Jennifer Burke, Tymphanys Last Song.
EI 120: 1) Declan Cullen, Ultimate Quality; 2) Michael O’Toole, First Obama; 3) Declan Cullen, Seavaghan Ash; 4) Alex Houston, Minty Imp; 5) Heidi Brabazon, Red Ace; 6) Katherine O’Hare, Keonan Hero.
EI 115 Open: 1) Nicola Ennis, Out of Print; 2) Steven Smith, Hi Happy Harry; 3) Emma Newsam, Magennis.
EI 115: 1) Suzanne Hagan, Californian Wolf; 2) Robyn McCluskey, Carsonstown Alice; 3) Jill McGettigan, Watermill Hollie; 4) Rosie Alcorn, Chrysanthos; 5) Colin Halliday, GHS Calexico; 6) Nicola Ennis, Killossery Kitten.
EI 110 Open: 1) Steven Smith, Handsome Starr; 2) Anita Doherty, Threeseas; 3) Chloe Fagan, Comte Ligniere Z; 4) Anita Doherty, Tiboy Des Etisses; 5) Daniel Brown, Mr Diceman.
EI 110: 1) Steven Smith, MMF Churchill; 2) Suzanne Hagan, Karolita O; 3) Suzanne Hagan, Loughview Commander; 4) Alyssa O’Neill, Danos Lola; 5) Rosie Alcorn, Goodwins Royalty; 6) Orlaith Delamere, Jenny Spinner.
EI 110 J: 1) Godfrey Gibbons, Milchem Miami; 2) Anna White, Kilcoltrim Dora; 3) Connie Cullen, Ballyvarry Padraig.
EI 100 Amateur: 1) Christine McVeigh, Keefotd Elamo; 2) Bernadette Curry, Teo’s Chance; 3) Lucy Toombs, Bluestone Ice; 4) Nichola Wray, Springhill Showman; 5) Ann Bowe, Festy Breeze.
EI 100 P: 1) Alex O’Hare, Greylands Diamond Girl; 2) Sam Hamilton, Cahanagh Black Flyer; 3) Caitlin woods, Molly xx; 4) India Heffron, Faye’s Choice; 5) Ben Foster, Millparks Eoin; 6) Katie Gibbons, Milchem Mischief.
EI 100 J: 1) Abby Cummiskey, Crackerjack V111; 2) Rachael Broome, Nature’s Blossom; 3) Bethany Smith, Dun Surprise; 4) Abby Cummiskey, MJI Cabernet; 5) Alex Byrne, Major Cross; 6) Kaiti McCann, Boyher Cookies N Crème.
EI 100: 1) Elaine O’Connor, Sir Barnabus; 2) David O’Connor, Summit; 3) Claire Badger, Captain Beach; 4) Jonathan Steele, Hanson; 5) Victoria Clarke, Fun Time Frankie; 6) Ruth Baird, Carrigeen Mos.
EI 90 Amateur: 1) Rhonda Hall, Red Hot Chilli Piper; 2) Ruth Lyttle, Taylorstown Timeless; 3) Michaela Donnelly, Burke Private Bluebird; 4) Lisa Wallace, Ders Something about Mary; 5) Rachel Lockyear, Townhill Penny; 6) Hazel Hilland, November Kate.
EI 90: 1) Lee Bloomfield, Totally Special; 2) Godfrey Gibbons, Kilnamac Kasu; 3) Ruth Baird, Rose of Mourne; 4) Angela Dolan, Munsboro 50 Shades; 5) Robyn McFadden, RJM Wingman; 6) Beth Hayes, Largymore Lass.
EI 90 P: 1) Charlotte Betts, Akaroa Bittertsweet; 2) Rachel Fletcher, Penninsula Clover; 3) Kitty Cullen, TBS Inspector Sparrow; 4) Emma Stewart, Beezies Minty; 5) Ellie Leigh Livingstone, Caoranbeag Cillin; 6) Adam Boggs, Tony.
EI 100 T: 1) Alex O’Hare, Alcatraz.
EI 90 T: 1) Heidi Brabazon, Ahaziah; 2) Cara McDonald, Aharlow Gem; 3) Lucy Orr, Jazzy Susie; 4) George Newton, Simply Javlin’s Last; 5) Cathy Campbell, Daring Do.
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