It was another busy weekend for show jumping with two rounds of the National Grand Prix’s taking place over the course of the long weekend.

The first of these rounds took place in the north of the country with Portmore Equestrian Centre in Lurgan hosting the second round of the series. Taking the honours in the Bluegrass Horse Feeds sponsored class was Fermanagh native, James Hogg.

Riding his father’s Always On My Mind, he lodged the winning time of 40.53 seconds. This is the second national win for this combination in recent weeks, having won the Connollys Red Mills Spring Tour at Mullingar. The pairing finished third the week prior in the National Grand Prix at Louth County.

Always On My Mind is a 10-year-old gelding by Ard Vdl Douglas out of the Andiamo-sired mare Sandiamo. He is an embryo transfer which was the work of vet Larry Dunne in Wicklow. He was the first embryo out of the mare and the Hoggs have another six-year-old from her by Beach Ball. He has been produced by Hogg from a three year-old.

Speaking afterwards, Hogg said: “I was meant to be last to go but I moved up the draw to move things along. I had a plan and was going to stick to it, so it didn’t matter where I went in the draw. I got a good turn back to the shavings oxer and he was jumping so good I went inside to the double and he was very good to the last. Everything worked out and it put the pressure on the other two to follow. It was my day”.


First to go, Liam O Meara had the difficult task as pathfinder with Lincourt Lux (ISH), but a steady clear in 49.97s saw him slot into eventual sixth. Next in, Declan McEvoy also put in a safe clear with BLM Cosmopolitan Dandy (ISH) and their time of 48.84s saw them take the lead and later eventual fifth.

Philip Gaw and Rocky Bond lowered the target to 48.38s, which would later see him finish just ahead of McEvoy in eventual fourth. The lead changed hands when Stephen Mcmanus galloped Red Bird Point from the double to the last - it paid off as they clocked 45.16s. Although Mcmanus set a tough target, his lead held only temporarily as next in, Jonathan Smyth riding Ping Ball reduced the target to 45.02s and as a result took the runner-up spot and demoted Mcmanus to third.


On Sunday, action moved to the Leinster region as Thomastown in Kilkenny hosted the third round. Despite heavy rain falling, the Grand Prix went ahead at the scheduled time with almost all riders on the start-list declaring to jump. As always, there was a large contingent of local riders, but despite their best efforts, victory went to Tipperary rider, Liam O’ Meara. Riding Curraghgraigue Jack Take Flight, he lodged the winning round of clear in 28.28 seconds and took home the winner’s share of the €5,000 in the Mount Juliet sponsored class.

Speaking afterwards, O’Meara said: “I am delighted with the win as I was unlucky at Portmore the day before with Mr Coolcaum. We clocked the fastest time but we had the last fence down. My mount today, Curraghgraigue Jack Take Fligh is a horse that I produced from a four-year-old and he has won quite a bit. As a five-year-old, he won at Millstreet , as a six year old he won a few Horse Sport Ireland classes. As a seven year-old he won a few Grand Prixs and the qualifier for Dublin.

He won a qualifier in Simmonscourt in Dublin and from then has proved very consistent at Grand Prix level. Regarding the jump-off, there was some very fast clears lodged and I knew that to be in with a chance I needed to take the tight line from the penultimate to the last. Thankfully it paid off”.

Curraghgraigue Jack Take Fligh is a nine-year-old by Jacomar out of an Errigal Flight-sired mare, Curraghraigue Errigal. The combination got their season off to a decent start when taking fourth place in the Connolly’s Red Mills Spring Tour at Jag Equestrian and winning at both Ravensdale and Ballinamona.

Winner of the New Heights Champion Series in Louth, Greg Broderick added to his record when he partnered

Veronica Tracy’s Daify to a clear in 28.61s which proved good enough for second.

Local rider, Gerard O’ Neill was looking to secure a home victory, riding Eamonn Murphy’s nine-year-old Indoctro-sired stallion Dondoctro Ryal K. He didn’t disappoint as he delivered a clear in 31.23s which saw them slot into third.

Third to go in the 17-way jump-off, Francis Connors riding Hilda Anthony’s Lates Du Carel set the bar high when they lodged a clear in 31.24s to take the lead and then eventual fourth.

Martin Hynes put in a good attempt with Galway Brigade, but despite taking the same route as Connors a clear in 33.25s saw him finish in fifth place.

All eyes were on last to go Gemma Phelan and Loughnavatta Indigo and the Waterford rider didn’t put a foot wrong, but a slower time of 33.36s saw her slot into sixth place.