THE weather gods were certainly on side as the Northern Region held their penultimate event of the year at Loughanmore, where the bright sunshine served to show the fabulous 17th century demesne off to maximum effect. The show jumping and start of cross-country took place in full view of the magnificent house, which provided a photographer’s paradise. The extensive acreage of the estate allowed for four top class galloping courses, designed by Adam Stevenson, which provided plenty of technical challenges across the board.
It was another very successful day for Gilford rider, Steven Smith, who amassed an amazing three wins plus a third and a fifth placing on a weekend where he made history as the first Irish rider to complete 1,000 runs since Equirating statistics began in 2011. Steven added further to his collection of weekend successes by taking a win, two seconds and a sixth at Frankfort on Sunday. These results epitomise the legend and great sportsman that Steven is and whom the Northern Region is very proud to have in their midst.
Steven took centre stage in the EI 115 Open class with June Burgess’s ‘Clover Echo’ gelding, ‘Galwaybay Echo’, with which he has been selected for the European Eventing Championships in Avenches, Switzerland later this month. The combination finished on their first phase mark, over three points clear of Alex Houston and ‘Skyfall Echo’, which recorded a win at this level at Lightsource BP Tyrella 4.
Meantime, stable mate, ‘April’s Pacino Time’, took the honours in the EI 115 class under the direction of the very hard working Actuary, Casey Webb, who has produced this eight-year-old mare by ‘Pacino’ since 2018. Despite lowering a coloured pole and adding a few cross-country time penalties to their dressage score, they still had a two point margin over Katie O’Sullivan on the very flashy Cooley Farm gelding, ‘Licence to Cooley’.
Steven Smith claimed his second victory of the day in the EI 110 Open class, where Virginia Maguire’s ‘September Storm’ gelding, ‘Handsome Starr’, finished on his fabulous sub-20 dressage score, replicating his win at Hazeldene at the end of July. Robyn McCluskey occupied the runner up spot with Dawn Carlisle’s ‘Suirvalley Little Monkey’ for the second consecutive week.
Steven again rose to prominence in the EI 110 class with ‘Urneypark Big Cat’, his six-year-old gelding by ‘Mr Big Cat’, who has delivered a host of great results in recent weeks. Alex Houston, who has also been delivering very consistent top placings in recent months, took second place with her home-bred ‘Beach Ball’ gelding, ‘Atlantic Rockstar’.
There were just two starters in the EI 110J class, where Lucy McIlroy and ‘Imperial Black Pearl’ held a five-point lead over second placed Rebekah McKinstry and ‘Cornhill Rose’.
Once again, Denis Currie had a runaway victory in the EI 110 Amateur class with ‘Arodstown Aramis’, where he added just 0.8 time penalties to his dressage score. Aoibheann Morgan took second place with ‘Hey Aussie’, having just returned from England the previous day.
A delighted Grainne Baxter claimed her first victory at EI 100 level with ‘Cillbhrid Splash’, having led from the outset and added just four faults to her dressage score to give her a two-point advantage over an equally delighted Claire Liddle and ‘Ballytrim Molly’, who have certainly proved that they are a force to be reckoned with this season.
The EI 100P class saw 13-year-old Seaforde girl, Molly O’Connor gallop to her first victory on board her father’s 11-year-old gelding, ‘Coolnaleen Rebel’. Erin McClernon and ‘Sundance’ also added nothing to their dressage score to take second place.
Anna White claimed victory in the EI Junior 100 class on just her third outing with the ‘Contador’-sired mare, ‘Kilcoltrim Dora’ in a class where the top five all finished on their flatwork mark. The runner up spot was occupied by Megan Carson riding Elizabeth Cunningham’s ‘Fair and Square’.
It seems to be a case of a partnership made in heaven for Tullymurry’s Elaine O’Connor and Helen Fletcher’s ‘Cyrano’ gelding, ‘Sir Barnabus’ as they have ratcheted up an incredible record including four wins since they were matched together in April of this year. Their fabulous first phase score of 17 gave them a sufficient advantage in the EI 100 class to cope with one fence down in the second phase and allowed them to claim yet another back to back win. Janie Cairns, who kept all jumping phases clean, slotted in behind with her father’s ‘Beach Ball’ gelding, ‘Kensington On The Ball’.
Debbie McNeill, who earlier in the week was co-ordinating the erection of the dressage arenas, celebrated a great win in the EI 90 Amateur class with Herbie Purce’s ‘Stan From Meelin’, who was making his first outing under Eventing Ireland rules since Loughanmore last year. They made their presence felt from the beginning and maintained the top spot, despite the addition of a few time penalties across the country. Britt Megahey slotted into second place on ‘Lowhill Nice Surprise’, also keeping a clean sheet across both jumping phases.
There was a very heavily subscribed EI 90 class, where Silver Medallist, Caoimhe Crozier rose to the top with ‘Hill Monarch’, her mother’s six-year-old gelding by the Trakehener stallion, ‘Masurenfuerst’. They finished marginally ahead of Ellen Douglas on a very smart ‘Ringfort Cruise’ mare, ‘Downshire Rock’.
14-year-old Aghalee schoolgirl, Anna McErlean has a very impressive record of three wins and a runner up spot from her four appearances this year on Jenny Rollins’s beautiful Connemara Pony, ‘Raford Jack’. They took the win in the EI 90 P class this week, adding nothing to their first phase score to finish almost eight points clear of Katie Robinson on another lovely Connemara Pony, ‘Duncarbery Cascade’, who finished in the same position at Hazeldene in July.
The Northern Region extends a huge and sincere thank you to the Dennison family for, once again, facilitating them at their beautiful venue, which gives members a rare opportunity for good galloping courses in very picturesque parkland setting.
Thanks, too, to Adam Stevenson for all his hard work, not just at Loughanmore, but throughout the year, providing challenging and varied courses from 1.15m to 80cm.
Appreciation also goes to Georgia Stubington and Noel Fitzpatrick for many hours of painstaking work painting, strimming, mowing and sanding.
As ever, thank you to all the volunteers, who are simply amazing selfless friends, who give up their Saturdays to allow the sport to function. The Northern Region wish all members ‘Good Luck’ as they head to the National Championships this weekend at Lisgarvan.
Next week (September 18) sees the Northern Region return to Knockany for their final event of the season, courtesy of Harold and Jenny Lusk.
If you can help on the day, please contact Dora on 07876 758979.
Saturday, September 4
Eventing Ireland at Loughanmore
EI 115 Open: 1) Steven Smith, Galwaybay Echo; 2) Alex Houston, Skyfall Echo; 3) Steven Smith, Newferry Jagermeister; 4) Tegan White-McMorrow, Texan Style; 5) Steven Smith, HHF Elegance.
EI 115: 1) Casey Webb, April’s Pacino Time; 2) Katie O’Sullivan, Licence to Cooley; 3) Janie Cairns, Premier Charlie; 4) Rachel Rendle, Ballyvally Bay.
EI 110 Open: 1) Steven Smith, Handsome Starr; 2) Robyn McCluskey, Suirvalley Little Monkey; 3) David O’Connor, Tullymurry Hope; 4) Denis Coakley, Sugar Bunnie; 5) Kathryn McKibbin, Seapatrick Murphy.
EI 110: 1) Steven Smith, Urneypark Big Cat; 2) Alex Houston, Atlantic Rockstar; 3) Sarah Sproule, Ballyneety Rainbow; 4) Lucca Stubington, Kiltown Watson; 5) Rachael Thompson, Govalent; 6) David O’Connor, Glenvine Codename R.
EI 110 J: 1) Lucy McIlroy, Imperial Black Pearl; 2) Rebekah McKinstry, Cornhill Rose.
EI 110 Amateur: 1) Denis Currie, Arodstown Aramis; 2) Aoibheann Morgan, Hey Aussie.
EI 100 Amateur: 1) Grainne Baxter, Cillbhrid Splash; 2) Claire Liddle, Ballytrim Molly; 3) Nichola Wray, Springhill Showman; 4) Liam Moran, Timpany Flight Hero; 5) Philip Swann, Tignabruaich; 6) Christine. McVeigh, Keeford Elamo.
EI 100P: 1) Molly O’Connor, Coolnaleen Rebel; 2) Erin McLernon, Sundance 111; 3) Sorcha Hanly, My Seafield Romeo; 4) Erin Mathieson, Longwood Dawn; 5) Lauren Madine, Moonshine Melody.
EI 100J: 1) Anna White, Kilcoltrim Dora; 2) Megan Carson, Fair and Square; 3) Julia Herron, Twentypark Empress; 4) Alex Byrne, Major Cross; 5) Ben Foster, Las de Coeur; 6) Ben Cousins, Broughshane Boy.
EI 100: 1) Elaine O’Connor, Sir Barnabus; 2) Janie Cairns, Kensington On The Ball; 3) Rosie Alcorn, Chrysanthos; 4) David O’Connor, Kirktown Bob’s Song MIH; 5) Charlotte de Montmorency, Rickamore Notion; 6) Neil Morrison, Fire and Fury.
EI 90 Amateur: 1) Debbie McNeill, Stan From Meelin; 2) Britt Megahey, Lowhill Nice Surprise; 3) Christina Sterling-Berry, Tyrella Whiskey; 4) Heather Champion, Drumcara Red; 5) Sinead Boyd, Killultagh Bella; 6) Caroline McQuillan, Belle Saru.
EI 90: 1) Caoimhe Crozier, Hill Monarch; 2) Ellen Douglas, Downshire Rock; 3) Gemma Goodrich, Doubt Me Now; 4) Jonathan Steele, Lyons Legacy; 5) Casey Webb, our Pollyanna; 6) Ellen Douglas, Rock Phoenix.
EI 90P: 1) Anna McErlean, Raford Jack; 2) Katie Robinson, Duncarbery Cascade; 3) Lauren McGlennon, Glencaugh Draiocht; 4) Lauren McGlennon, OMS Lady Esquire; 5) Sam Hamilton, Cahanagh Black Flyer; 6) Molly O’Connor, Ballyard Echo.