WITH the cancellation of Ballinasloe Show, bar the four ISA All Ireland finals taking place there today, Clarecastle brought the agricultural show season to a close for equestrian exhibitors.
And weather-wise, the committee’s decision to postpone its July date certainly paid off, when the second running of this Banner County show took place at the local GAA grounds on a glorious autumn Sunday. Although some exhibitors were initially unsure about the suitability of the original earlier date for a foal final, the postponement meant the All Ireland sport horse colt championship was held in September after all.
Traditionally held at Ballinasloe, bar a couple of years when the final was held at nearby Ennis, the final moved back to the Banner County after a loss of sponsorship at the Galway show. Ennis Municipal Authority came on board as the title sponsor this year for a high-class championship, judged by Ruth Brown and Annemieke Plass, that attracted 12 entries. Missing were several qualified foals that already been sold on.
Cork exhibitors and supporters were there in their droves to support the new show and there was a highly popular All Ireland win for Skibbereen owner Leo Cahalane when his quality Golden Master colt was announced by maestro Michael Slavin as this year’s champion.
Snapped up for Jill Day earlier in the summer, the colt is out of Automatic Mover, who also produced John Williams’s two-year-old winning filly Mantlehill Diamond Melody in the earlier young horse classes. Their Limmerick dam is back in foal to Slyguff Stud’s Golden Master, the sole thoroughbred son of Master Imp.
The champion foal was shown for Leo by his son Darren, a Bandon-based Garda and the Cork clean sweep continued with no less than four Rebel County owners in the top-six. These included the reserve champion Munther’s Magic, owned by Kieran O’Gorman, who also stands the thoroughbred sire Munther and Patrick O’Sullivan’s third-placed Leap Future, by the Kennedy family’s Oldenburg sire Future Trend.
“The winning foal was a lovely model, very, very correct. He was nicely coupled with a lovely step. Any one of those foals, as you went along the line, you could see them as competition horses. It’s nice to see that we’re no longer judging a show foal but that you can also see a future for them in competition,” Ruth remarked afterwards.
A quality field was also attracted for the Banner Broodmare championship beforehand when the rebel yell rang out again as P.J. Lehane’s home-bred P.J’s Dream was judges Paddy Joe Foy and John Joyce’s choice.
By Lux Z, she has been a model of consistency for her Clonakilty owner this summer, including the Charleville broodmare championship and Horse Sport Ireland broodmare class at Barryroe. A dual All Ireland champion in her youngstock career, she is now a familiar sight in The Irish Field Breeders’ Championship since her move to broodmare classes.
Runner-up on a fateful day for Mayo was Swinford owner Martin Murphy with his Black Beauty, by Loughehoe Guy, and the Rothwell family took the next two places with their Greenhall Indicator and Greenhall Wishing Well.
It has also been a landmark year for Lorcan Glynn who showed his father PJ’s Scrapman filly foal to win at Dublin, their first win there in Irish Draught classes and then bought the winning foal in The Irish Field Breeders Championship from the O’Sullivan brothers.
His prize money in the lucrative Horse Sport Ireland young handler final will have helped pay for his new OBOS Quality filly.
On this occasion he showed the family’s Crannaghmore Pearl in this final, judged by Teagasc’s Declan McArdle who put the half-dozen entries through their paces. Each young handler, who had also prepared a brief video about their horse, viewed on their phone by McArdle, was also questioned about their horse’s pedigree and likely markets, before showing it around a triangle layout.
Runner-up in this final was Sheelagh Barry whose Harlequin Du Carel three-year-old Darwin was the earlier young horse champion from small classes, with the majority of youngsters either out to grass or being prepared for sales. In third place was Allison Geary showing Ballingowan Saigon.
Also in the young handler line-up was Danielle Cusack who, with partner Michael Egan, had won the Seamus Lehane and Clare Oakes-judged foal championship with a filly by her father John’s stallion Clonaslee Captain Cristo.
Elsewhere, with the school year now in full swing, entries were light in some of the pony classes judged by Nicholas Byrne and Bill Bourns. Several west-based families brought their busy show campaign to a winning close with Ethan Ruttle claiming a mini title on Treowen Ranger, the Glynn family followed up their Mountbellew championship win the previous day with another show hunter title for Just A Peach and Lara and Jane Field claimed several championships. “Their ponies were in a class of their own” said Byrne about the sisters’ Creganna Amber, Creganna Dancer and Glandrine Pied Piper. Emma Mackey’s Whitesparrow Final Say was their champion show pony.
There was some speculation afterwards whether Clarecastle would retain this September date or revert to its original July one.
However, overall the show is definitely back on the ISA calendar with the Slattery family and committee’s trademark attention to detail stamped on the day.