KAREN Feleki, who previously won the Advanced Primary title in 2016, put in an exemplary performance to win the Intermediate honours at the TRI Equestrian Association of Irish Riding Clubs’ (AIRC) Eventing Championships at Lisgarvan House near Ballon, Co. Carlow on Sunday, September 9.
Feleki’s task was made all the more difficult as the class had a large field of almost 50 starters, where the Carne member took the lead after the dressage phase. Feleki’s 10-year-old skewbald gelding, ‘Archibald Wells’, impressed judge Faith Ponsonby, who remarked afterwards that it was a textbook performance, to finish on 15.3.
The Duncormick resident added a further four penalties after show jumping after a clear round across the country, Feleki sealed the win on 19.3.
Elaine Tomlinson claimed the runners-up ribbon after the Cill Dara rider finished the day with nothing to add to her dressage score of 22.8 on ‘Ballard Big Bang’, ahead of Moira Gleeson (‘Mos Maggie’) in third for Corrib on 27.1.
Feleki was delighted with her win and said afterwards: “I’ve been finding it difficult to make the cross-country time since I upgraded to intermediate, but I knew I had a good dressage score, so I rode positively and slightly out of my comfort zone ,but ‘Archie’ and I have a great relationship and it worked out for us.”
“We’ve been working very hard with our trainer Gabrielle le Guay on our flat work and it’s paying off, as Archie produced a lovely test with an amazing score. I would love to take this opportunity to thank my husband Steve, who comes to all my events and does all the hard work,” she added.
40 riders contested the Advanced Intermediate championship, where Anne Lynch held a narrow lead after dressage on ‘User Friendly’ (Castle Ellis Larry). The Waterford rider, however, put in a faultless performance over the coloured poles and across the country to finish on her dressage score of 25.5 to claim the spoils for the Waterford club.
Warrington’s Billie Mae Geoghegan was next best after dressage, but dropped out of contention when ‘Brokenhearted Kate’ (IRE) lowered two show jumping poles to finish just outside the top six on 34.0.
Joan Sinnott capitalised after four other riders encountered difficulties in the show jumping phase, which took place after cross-country, to move up the leader board into second place for Ballycanew on her dressage score of 30.0 on ‘Newtown Wilson’, while Corrib’s Anita Algierowiicz (‘Kiltrogue Silver’) was closely behind in third place on 30.3.
Carne Riding Club dominated the young horse division with the Wexford club filling the top three places. The spoils went to Sue Corish on her four-year-old brown ISH mare, ‘Robins Fairy Tale’, on a dressage score of 30.3. There was no room for error for the Rosslare resident as her clubmate, Ciara Morris, followed closely behind on ‘Tykillen Top That’ to take the blue ribbon on 30.9, with Albert Whitehead (‘Cruise on Bella’) next best on 31.2 in third.
Claire Maher had led after dressage, but a pole on the floor from ‘Proud Billy’ left the Killcarrick rider in fourth place on 31.9.
In the Advanced Primary championship, where 34 riders started, Warrington’s Ann Marie Donnolly (‘Moyne Clover Diamond’) and Mill Road’s Maja Rykala (‘Park Frodo’) were both tied for sixth place after dressage, but both riders moved into second place after show jumping behind Lisa Carroll (‘Swanseas Mare’).
Carroll, however, dropped out of contention after cross-country to leave Donnolly and Rykala vying for the honours on their dressage scores of 27.9. Both riders completed the cross-country with nothing to add, but as Donnolly was closest to the optimum time, the Warrington rider claimed the red rosette on this occasion.
Caroline McQuillan claimed the other championship title on offer in the Open and Advanced Open division, where the Border Counties rider led from start to finish on her 10-year-old chestnut ISH gelding, ‘Foxtail Orchid’.
McQuillan’s score of 22.8 gave her an almost five penalty winning margin over second placed Christina Kavanagh on ‘Russelstown Bay Princess’, who took the blue ribbon for Carne on 29.5.
Meanwhile, in the newly introduced Primary Combined Training class, Caitriona O’Brien won the class after ‘Templemichael Siogai’ finished on 22.1 with nothing to add over the coloured poles.
Sarah Lester took second place on ‘Cloncaw Smartie’ on 26.6, after the Border Counties rider picked up four penalties in the show jumping phase.