Eventing gets underway in style at Tullylish

EI Tullylish BR Farm
CONFIDENT: ‘Youngstars Cheetah’ jumps confidently for Sarah O’Shea on their winning round in Tullylish’s EI 100 J class. (FW32-554AH)

TULLYLISH will long be remembered as the day that brought the smile back to the faces of so many eventers after a four and a half month lockdown. The cancellation of the previous week only served to double the joy of the 120 competitors, who descended on the pristine Co. Down home of Jim and Bronagh Stevenson. Northern Region’s resident Course Designer, Adam Stevenson, pulled out all stops to provide three challenging and beautifully presented courses.

The continued threat of Covid-19 was very much in evidence as the Committee implemented many changes to meet the demands of the sport’s protocols. Everyone was checked in at the entrance against a list of attendees compiled from the completion of online questionnaires.

ON FORM: Matthew Johnston and ‘Diamond Debut’ won Tullylish’s EI 100 class on their first outing for a year. (FW32-553AH)

There was an abundance of sanitizing stations and evidence of regular toilet cleansing.

Even the absence of a functioning online scoring system failed to dampen the spirits of competitors. Thankfully, the rain kept away until the final rider had clocked through the finish beam when the heavens absolutely opened.

This year, the show jumping moved to the ‘Walled Garden’, which provided a fabulous setting on undulating ground amongst the trees. The courses all rode exceptionally well, but certainly provided some extra challenges along the way.

There was definitely plenty to celebrate in the Cairns household, as Janie brought home the bacon in the EI 110 Open class with her seven-year-old ‘Touchdown’ gelding, ‘Premier Charlie’. This is the combination’s second outing this year, having competed at Kilguilkey last month. Denis Currie was the early leader in the David Patterson-judged class but, sadly, two coloured rails on the ground meant he had to settle for fifth place with ‘Arodstown Aramis’. Virginia Maguire’s ‘Handsome Starr’, an eight-year-old gelding by ‘September Storm’, claimed second place, adding nothing to their dressage score under saddle of Steven Smith.

Nine of the 17 starters in the EI 110 class finished double clear, but all added cross-country time penalties to their first phase mark. Top of the leader-board was Lucca Stubington and ‘Xanthe Green’, a seven-year-old mare by ‘Sir Shutterfly’, owned by Georgia Stubington and Patricia MacKean. They finished fractionally ahead of Trevor Smith and ‘Mike of Mourne’, a six-year-old gelding by ‘Ringfort Cruise’, bred by John McBride.

Tom Rowlatt-McCormick took the honours in the EI 110J class with his mother’s ‘Adam 1V’ gelding, ‘Mon Ami Alme’, adding just 3.6 time faults to his dressage score, which gave him a 2.4 margin lead over Darragh Hanlon riding Elizabeth McMillan’s eight-year-old gelding, ‘Marco’.

Richhill’s Matthew Johnston led from the outset in the EI 100 class on his mother’s six-year-old Dutch-bred gelding, ‘Diamond Debut’, having been awarded a score of 22.3 from judge Lucinda Webb-Graham. They finished just over one point clear of Trevor Smith and ‘Mr Diceman’, who was competing on his second outing under Eventing Ireland rules.

There was certainly a battle of the siblings in the EI 100 Amateur class, where sisters Kathryn Graham and Jayne Moore went head to head in a class of 10. Rosie Gomes awarded a score of 27.8 to Jayne to give her a marginal lead after phase one with ‘Laylas Way’, but the addition of some time penalties across the country meant she had to give way to Kathryn and ‘Flush Hill Fendi’ to allow them to claim the red rosette.

There were just three starters in the EI 100J class, where Sarah O’Shea claimed the top prize on the ‘Cruising’ gelding, ‘Youngstars Cheetah’. They finished with a six-point margin over Lucy Johnston and ‘Major Cross’, with Anna McCaldin coming in close behind on Fran Rowlatt McCormick’s ‘Mon Ami Tonnerre’.

Just four pony riders started in the EI 100P class, where Felicity McConnell laid her claim early on with a dressage score of 32.5 on ‘Finding Nemo’. Despite adding some time penalties, she held her top position and finished over five points clear of Rebekah McKinstry and ‘Cornhill Rose’, who were competing for the first time at this level.

Tullymurry’s David O’Connor had a very successful day, claiming the top two spots in the EI 90 class of 24. He got top marks from Janet Hall on ‘Sir Barnabus’, his 11-year-old ‘Cyrano’ gelding, who was enjoying his first Eventing Ireland competition. He was runner up with Eve McDowell’s eight-year-old gelding, ‘Nakuti’. Anya Teuton, making her Eventing Ireland debut, claimed third place with her mother, Victoria Teuton’s, very striking piebald gelding, ‘Painted Cavalier’. Anya claimed her second third placing in the EI 90P class on her lovely Connemara pony, ‘Lisrua Star’. The winner of the EI 90P class was 14-year-old Erin McCrea from Newtownabbey, competing with Eventing Ireland for only the second time on ‘Knockagarron Fear Bui Phoenix’. They finished with a half point advantage over Rachael Broome and ‘Boyher Cookies N Crème’.

Meantime, 10 buzzing amateurs took on the challenge of the EI 90 A class, where Ailsa Martin, no stranger to success, claimed the top spot with ‘Grateful For Gold’, one step up from her last outing at Lisgarvan. Second place went to a delighted Heather Champion with her 12-year-old ‘Cyrano’ gelding, adding just 1.2 time penalties to their first phase score.

Sincere thanks go to Jim, Bronagh and Adam Stevenson for all their hard work preparing for this event, amidst such poor weather forecasts. It was undoubtedly an event to remember for all the right reasons.

Thanks, too, to all the army of volunteers, who came out in their droves to conduct the many and varied duties required at the events – volunteers are the backbone of the sport and organisers really appreciate their enormous contribution week after week.

Next week sees the Northern Region head to Finvoy, courtesy of the Campbell family, where they look forward to four levels of competition with over 30 entries in the EI 115 class.


Saturday, August 1

EI 110 Open: 1) Janie Cairns, Premier Charlie; 2) Steven Smith, Handsome Starr; 3) Trevor Smith, Fredie Fox; 4) Steven Smith, Izzietop; 5) Denis Currie, Arodstown Aramis; 6) Anita Doherty, Tiboy Des Etisses.

EI 110: 1) Lucca Stubington, Xanthe Green; 2) Trevor Smith, Mike of Mourne; 3) Clare Abbott, Malcolm X; 4) Casey Webb, The Cherokee Flight; 5) Izzy Riley, DHI No Fear; 6) Neil Morrison, Entwistle Foxtrot.

EI 110P: 1) Ellen Douglas, Rock Tempo.

EI 110J: 1) Tom Rowlatt McCormick, Mon Ami Alme; 2) Darragh Hanlon, Marco; 3) Noah Brown, Quick Step Up; 4) Hannah Morrow, My Good Thyne Girl.

EI 100: 1) Matthew Johnston, Diamond Debut; 2) Trevor Smith, Mr Diceman; 3) Casey Webb, Cosmic Flight; 4) Rosie Alcorn, Centre Fold Belle; 5) Janie Cairns, Kensington Empire; 6) Casey Webb, Reunited.

EI 100 Amateur: 1) Kathryn Graham, Flush Hill Fendi; 2) Jayne Moore, Laylas Way; 3) Christina Turley, Ann’s Bob; 4) Claire O’Dwyer, Knockmullan Lad; 5) Rachel Keys, Drumnaconnell Bellagio; 6) Katie Wray, Easy Dun.

EI 100J: 1) Sarah O’Shea, Youngstars Cheetah; 2) Lucy Johnston, Major Cross; 3) Anna McCaldin, Mon Ami Tonnerre.

EI 100P: 1) Felicity McConnell, Finding Nemo; 2) Rebekah McKinstry, Cornhill Rose; 3) Tori Jewiss, Carraigoir Blaze.

EI 90 Amateur: 1) Ailsa Martin, Grateful For Gold; 2) Heather Champion, Drumcara Red; 3) Kathryn Henderson, Mocking Bird; 4) Caitlin Brown, Monkey Business; 5) Annick Maginn, Tullymurry Seana; 6) Shane Belton, Carrigshawn Blue Imp.

EI 90P: 1) Erin McCrea, Knockagarron Fear Bui Phoenix; 2) Rachael Broome, Boyher Cookies N Crème; 3) Anya Teuton, Lisrua Star; 4) Mya McCullough, Harveys Diamond; 5) Abbie Wylie, Colour Confusion; 6) Katie Flanagan, Son of Loki.

EI 100 AMATEUR: Kathryn Graham and ‘Flush Hill Fendi’ completed on their dressage score to win Tullylish’s EI 100 Amateur class. (FW32-551AH)

EI 90: 1) David O’Connor, Sir Barnabus; 2) David O’Connor, Nakuti; 3) Anya Teuton, Painted Cavalier; 4) Clare Abbott, Arthalent; 5) Ellie McElroy, Loughdoo Maverick; 6) Ruth Cousins, Guntouched.


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