THE success of the Maddybenny event was soon overshadowed by the very sad news that the proprieter of the North Coast venue had sadly passed away just hours after the final horse had gone through the finish markers.
Philip White, who was known far and wide, was definitely one of life’s characters, who will be sadly missed. He, along with his wife Eavan and his brother Fred, had worked hard to make the ground conditions as good as possible, given the drought of the preceding weeks. Philip was taken to hospital during the event and, sadly, died in the small hours of Sunday morning, leaving the entire equestrian community stunned. Sincere condolences go to Eavan, Tegan, Jack and the entire White family.
Northern Region’s Rider Sub Committee Chairman, Jonathan Steele, made his journey worthwhile, with five top four placings. He took a win in the EI Open 110 class with ‘Bellablue’, a 10-year-old ‘Radolin’ mare, owned by Susan Sullivan. This combination moved up one place after dressage when the early leaders, Steven Smith and Virginia Maguire’s ‘Handsome Starr’, lowered two coloured poles.
Jonathan was in pole position after phase one in the EI 110 class with Pauline Faloon’s seven-year-old mare, ‘Loughehoe Scarlet Fever’, but, sadly, two second phase errors relegated them to fourth and opened the path to victory to Colin Halliday riding ‘GHS Calexico’, his very striking six-year-old mare by ‘Van Gogh’, who just added a fraction of a cross-country time penalty to his dressage score. Jonathan Steele slotted into second place, just 0.1 adrift, with ‘R Kidd’, his home-bred mare by ‘Centre Stage’.
With almost 40 starters in the EI 100, it was decided to do a class division. Steven Smith remained at the top through all three phases with his ‘Jaguar Mail’ gelding, ‘Jaguar Blues’, on their maiden outing. Alex Houston finished very close behind with ‘Atlantic Rockstar’, her home-bred six-year-old ‘Beach Ball’ gelding, who made his first appearance at Lightsource BP Tyrella 3.
Steven Smith claimed the top two placings in the ‘B’ section, winning with the Hanoverian bred gelding, ‘Charles Imp’, who was also making his eventing debut. Steven Smith with ‘Kitten Touch’ and Jonathan Steele with ‘R Showman’ both finished on exactly the same score, but Steven gained advantage for second place as he was closer to the optimum time.
17-year-old Belfast girl, Lara McRobb, took the honours in the EI 100J class with her mother’s mare, ‘Courtyard Queen’, having stepped up to this level for the first time. Sarah O’Shea and ‘The Cherokee Flight’ were runners up.
There were just four starters in the EI 100P class, where the red rosette was claimed by Alex O’Hare on ‘Greylands Diamond Girl’, ahead of Katie Flanagan and ‘Son of Loki’.
After a disappointing dismount at the Two-Phase Training Event, Ailsa Martin was ecstatic with her performance in the EI 90 ‘A’ class on board her faithful mare, ‘Grateful For Gold’, where she claimed the red rosette, ahead of Rosie Alcorn and her six-year-old gelding, ‘Chrysanthos’.
The ‘B’ section was taken by Becky Cullen, who led from the outset and finished on her dressage score of 21.5, with Declan Cullen’s Connemara gelding, ‘TBS Inspector Sparrow’. They held a lead of almost five on second placed Gemma Murphy and ‘Caraun Ferdy’.
With underage riders making their first appearance since the relaxation of the Covid regulations, there was an 18-strong field in the EI 90P class. 15-year-old Banbridge girl, Anna White, rose to the top with her mother’s 10-year-old mare, ‘Creaghduff Annie May’, who finished on their sub-20 dressage score, over 11 points clear of second placed Clodagh McBride riding Cindy Cunningham’s appaloosa mare, ‘CSC Apache Dove’.
Northern Region extends a huge thank you to the White families for hosting this event and to the huge number of helpers, many from Route Branch of the Pony Club, Route Hunt and Bann Valley Riding Club. Maddybenny is always an event where the camaraderie of the equestrian community is in abundance and we know that they will surround Eavan, Tegan, Jack, Fred and the rest of the White family in the days ahead.
Saturday, May 1
EI 110 Open: 1) Jonathan Steele, Bellablue; 2) Steven Smith, Handsome Starr; 3) Orlagh Halliday, Elsarco; 4) Anita Doherty, Tiboy Des Etisses.
EI 110: 1) Colin Halliday, GHS Calexico; 2) Jonathan Steele, R Kidd; 3) Anita Doherty, Threeseas; 4) Jonathan Steele, Loughehoe Scarlet Fever; 5) Tara Dixon, Master Smart; 6) Casey Webb, Reunited.
EI 110 J: 1) Lucy McIlroy, Imperial Black Pearl.
EI 100 ‘A’: 1) Steven Smith, Jaguar Blues; 2) Alex Houston, Atlantic Rockstar; 3) Steven Smith, Lavori; 4) Jonathan Steele, R Ballerina; 5) Anita Doherty, Samphire; 6) Casey Webb, Cosmic Flight.
EI 100 ‘B’: 1) Steven Smith, Charles Imp; 2) Steven Smith, Kitten Touch; 3) Jonathan Steele, R Showman; 4) Rachael Thompson, Govalent; 5) Hollie Smith, Urneypark Big Cat; 6) Jessica Nelson, Young Taipan.
EI 100 J: 1) Lara McRobb, Courtyard Queen; 2) Sarah O’Shea, The Cherokee Flight; 3) Bethany Smith, Dun Surprise; 4) Sarah O’Shea, Youngstars Cheetah; 5) Megan Carson, Fair and Square; 6) Lucy McIlroy, Little Pix.
EI 100 P: 1) Alex O’Hare, Greylands Diamond Girl; 2) Katie Flanagan, Son of Loki.
EI 90 ‘A’: 1) Ailsa Martin, Grateful For Gold; 2) Rosie Alcorn, Chrysanthos; 3) Nichola Wray, Lady Grey V1; 4) Rachel Lockyear, Townhill Penny; 5) Jonathan West, Monmurry Sovereign; 6) Grace Moore, Canadian Clipper.
EI 90 ‘B’: 1) Becky Cullen, TBS Inspector Sparrow; 2) Gemma Murphy, Caraun Ferdy; 3) Bernadette Muirhead, Hanslough; 4) Felicity McConnell, Ladida; 5) Ben Foster, Las de Coeur; 6) Rosie Alcorn, Goodwins Royalty.
EI 90 P: 1) Anna White, Creaghduff Annie May; 2) Clodagh McBride, CSC Apache Dove; 3) Katie Robinson, Duncarbery Cascade; 4) Lauren Madine, Moonshine Melody; 5) Connie Cullen, Loobrhu’s Dazzler Rover; 6) Lee Bloomfield, Lonely ER VH Juxschot.
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