Some 400 horses and ponies travelled from all over the country to compete for €135,000 across 18 classes over three days at the RDS in Dublin last weekend.
It wasn’t the Dublin Horse Show as we know it, but instead re-branded as the RDS National Championships and it was held behind closed doors, with the action streamed online.
First up on Friday morning was the 148cm six/seven-year-old ponies and it was Kate Lynch who took the opening championship aboard her mother’s seven-year-old CQS Quality Cagney, clear in 37.24 seconds.
The 148cm decider went to Kilkenny’s Martha Hughes Bravo and HHS Mustang Sally, clear in 36.08 seconds. This 10-year-old mare was bred by Una Connors and is by Annaghmore Boomerang and out of Sluggara Mustang Sally.
Fellow Kilkenny rider Iseult Fleming took the 138cm class with Coppenagh Celtic Rebel when they went clear in 35.53 seconds.
Winner of the 128cm decider was National Pony Champion Ruben Foley from Carlow and The Silver Legend. This amazing pony has over 2,000 show jumping points and has been campaigned by many riders, such as Susan Fitzpatrick, Jason Foley, Ciaran Nallon, Ryan Sweetnam and Matthew Conlon.
Winner of the 1.10m-1.15m was Dylan Ward, who partnered the six-year-old Kruser DHH to go clear in 38.61 seconds. This gelding is by Harley VDL and out of the Heartbreaker sired dam, Dame Blanche.
A total of 20 combinations lined-out for the 1.25m-1.30m championship. The course definitely took its toll on this division as just two riders, Alex Finney and Abigail Boland, booked a place in the jump-off.
It was Co Down’s Finney who prevailed with Absolutely Kingmar Z. Owned and bred by Gerry Marron, the nine-year-old mare is by Agamox Du Seigneur and out of the Radco D’Houtveld-sired dam, Class of Touch Hero.
Ciaran Foley’s clever riding with Kingsborough Verdiva saw him claim the 1.35m-1.40m championship, when they crossed the line in 42.78 seconds. Owned by Wicklow man Thomas Foley and bred by Cliodhna Carroll from Sligo, Kingsborough Verdiva is an 11-year-old mare by Verdi and out of the High Roller-sired dam, Macushla Roller.
After a nail-biting competition, Gillian Blanche and Bellegrove Prima Donna were crowned Amateur Champions. Bellegrove Prima Donna is a 16-year-old home-bred mare by Lux Z and out of the Tenor de La Cour-sired dam, Lady Belle Grove, who the family still have. Keen to breed from Bellegrove Prima Donna, they took two embryos from her both by Air Jordan Z (2019).
On Saturday evening the four-year-olds were put through their paces and victory went to Meabh Bolger and MBF Celtic Claddagh, when awarded a score of 83.52. Owned by Bolger and bred by Andrea Etter, the gelding is by Celtic Hero B Z and out of the Radolin sired dam, Janis B.
On Sunday morning, Mikey Pender collected the five-year-old Flexible Championship, when he partnered HHS Tokyo to a clear in 39.14secs. Owned and bred by Marion Hughes, the gelding is by Z Seven Ascot and is out of the Catoki sired dam, HHS Fortune.
Another title went to Kilkenny when Vincent Byrne claimed the six-year-old Cruising Championship aboard CBI Bella Donna, going clear in 38.91 seconds. Owned by fellow Kilkenny show jumper Kayleigh Soden, the mare was bred by Aidan Carroll and is by Zapatero VDL and is out of the Luidam sired mare, CSF Lulu.
Winners of the seven-year-old championship were Kevin Gallagher and Emerald Mystique. Emerald Mystique is owned and was bred by Dr Noel Cawley from Kildare. The combination took the class when clear in 38.12 seconds. The mare is by Emerald Vant’ T Ruytershof and out of the Cruising-sired dam Overruled.
The eight/nine- year-old championship went to Jason Foley and D’Amour Du Nenuphar. They delivered the only double clear in 53.28 seconds. Owned by Ronan Rothwell, the eight-year-old is by Vagabond de la Pomme and out of the Diamant De Semilly-sired dam, Gipsy Van De Padenborre.
Winner of the three-year-old loose ring jumping was Ashfield Bouncer. This impressive stallion is by Killinick Bouncer and out of Derrane lady and was bred by Greg Conway. Winner of the filly section was Luisa. She was bred by Noel Cawley and is by Luidam and out of the Flexible-sired dam, Lexi Lady. She was produced by Daniel Joseph O’Sullivan.