Riders flocked to the Irish Breeders’ Classic at Barnadown to contest the aged classes and finals of the Underwriting Exchange National Grand Prix, the TRM/Horse Sport Ireland New Heights Champions Series and the 1.35 Mervue Equine Leinster finals.

National Grand Prix

On Friday, Liam O’Meara won his third consecutive National Grand Prix League, with Tim MacDonagh finishing second. O’Meara had the title well secured as he went into the final on 52 points, while MacDonagh had accumulated 36. O’Meara started his campaign at the sixth round at Ballivor and after that, recorded two wins and a series of consistent results.

Kevin Gallagher claimed the final round, jumping clear in 40.48 with Bugatti X. Owned by American rider, Kerry McCahill, the nine-year-old KWPN gelding is by Bugatti VDL, out of Abalia SMH (Chin). McCahill campaigned the gelding herself this year, taking in shows in Vejer de La Frontera CSI4*, OliviaCSI3* and Knokke CSI2*.

Paul Carberry ran into trouble when his stirrup broke aboard Brandonview First Edition, but galloped home in 42.74 for second. Edward Doyle Jnr partnered Billy Guilder to a clear in 43.40 for third. Barnadown resident rider Sophie Richards and Gradje O also kept the poles in place in 46.98, for eventual fourth.

Kate Derwin and Deep Pockets proved that the time could be beaten, when clocking 38.24, but it came at a price as she crossed the line carrying four faults, for fifth. Derwin also took sixth with AGH Whiterock Cruise Down, also with one down.

New Heights Final

On Sunday, Francis Connors and Erne Ladygoldilocks were crowned the overall 2019 TRM/Horse Sport Ireland New Heights Champions Series winners. The Waterford rider went into the final round on 40 points, just six ahead of his closest rival, Tholm Keane.

Bred and owned by Hugh Fitzpatrick from Cavan, Erne Ladygoldilocks is a 12-year-old mare by VDL Douglas and out of Erne Touch (Some Touch). The dam, Erne Touch, had a successful career with Connors up to Grand Prix level. This combination have proved very consistent in the series, winning in Galway and placing on numerous occasions. In the final round, the combination finished on their first-round score of 49.06, for third.

Ger O’Neill won the final round with Warrior’s Glory. O’Neill was the only rider to jump clear, although he did pick up one time fault, finishing in 48.92 seconds. A new ride for O’Neill, the 10-year-old gelding is owned by Sean Cubitt and bred by Brendon Stud. He is by Warrior and out of Gucci’s Glory.

Edward Doyle Jnr was back in the ribbons with Billy Guilder, they finished on their first-round score of four faults in 44.91. European Junior Champion, Kate Derwin, was fourth with AHG Whiterock Cruise Down, on eight faults. This 10-year-old gelding is by Cruisings Micky Finn and out of the Touchdown sired dam, Whiterock Touch.

Fifth place went to Tim Macdonagh and Hollypark Galloway, who had one down in each round in 42.24. Liam O’Meara and Oldtown KC were sixth, finishing on eight faults in 42.94.

Leinster summer tour

Eddie Moloney won the 1.35m Mervue Equine Leinster Tour title riding Cruicerath Flexianna. Owned by TSI Equestrian, the nine-year-old mare is by Flexible and out of Pannamarenca (Holland).

John Floody finished second with BML Cosmopolitan Dandy, while Patrick Hickey and Quandurina won the leading young rider prize of a training bursary with Bertram Allen.

Geoff Curran jumped clear in 31.69 to win the final round, riding Dowth Hall. Owned by Professor Alice Stanton and The Minister for Defence and bred by Dr Noel Cawley, this nine-year-old mare is by Flexible and out of Ballinakill Clover (Cloverhill). Declan McEvoy won the leading pro-am title, landing a training bursary with Ian Fearon.

Irish Breeders' Classic

The 2019 winner of the seven and eight-year-old Irish Championship was Jack Ryan on Filouandra. Owned by David Cullen and bred by Gestut Lewitz, the seven-year-old mare is by Filou De Muze and is out of the Andiamo Z-sired dam, Annabury Z.

Winner of the four-year-old Championship with the most future potential was Camilla Speirs on Fuerty Hero Brigade. Bred by Blaithin Bailey, the gelding is by Querlybet Hero and is out of the Clover Brigade-sired dam, Bridgades Cruising.

Taking the five/six-year-old final was Ger O’Neill on Dawsons Gold. Bred by Victor Bennett and owned by KM Sport Horses, the five-year-old gelding is by Flexible and out of the Kildalton sired dam, Carnalway Gold. The gelding began his career under David Moran’s command.