RALPH Conroy, chair of the Western Region of Eventing Ireland, is hosting a regional combined training league at his Milchem Equestrian Centre, Tynagh and staged the first leg last Sunday when Derval Diamond judged the dressage phase.

Following two years competing under British Eventing rules, Rebecca Scott and Athea Clover Dew made their Eventing Ireland debuts last season and rounded off their campaign with a sixth place finish, for Britain, in the 30-runner CCI2*-L at Ballindenisk in September.

On Sunday, they were one of eight combinations in the EI100 class where they ran out comfortable winners on a dressage score of 22 penalties. With a fence down show jumping, Anna Gibbons finished second on the 10-year-old Orestus gelding The Kiwi (30.5) ahead of Darren Goode riding Millfield Ballerina (30.8).

Athea Clover Dew, who was first produced on the show jumping scene here in 2019 by James Cregan, is a 2014 bay mare by the Dutch Warmblood stallion Sibon W. She was bred in Co Limerick by John Joe Tierney out of the Clover Con VII mare Athea Clover Breeze.

Two home-based riders topped the final leaderboard in the 17-runner EI90 class with Oisin McDonagh taking the honours on board Milchem My Lady (28.5 penalties) while Jason Doerflinger finished second with the five-year-old Musical Pursuit gelding, Milchem Echo (30.5).

Unfortunately, there is no recorded pedigree for the winner who made a favourable impression on the EI circuit last season when Ralph Conroy’s 2017 mare and McDonagh finished third, second and finally first in EI90 (P) competitions at Hillcrest, Crecora and Punchestown. Milchem My Lady also has 22 Show Jumping Ireland points to her credit.

Win for Stella

Evanna Howard was the sole competitor in the day’s highest class, the EI110, and, with 12 show jumping penalties, she completed on a total of 51.5 with her eight-year-old chesnut mare Stella.

Course builder as well as host, Conroy had some new, brightly coloured poles at his disposal on Sunday and plenty of fillers but, much to the relief of many of the riders, the fillers were left out for the divided EI80 competition.

Although she had a fence down show jumping, Rachel Counihan held on to win Section A on Jackawho (28 penalties). Not too surprisingly, this five-year-old chesnut gelding is by the Irish Sport Horse stallion Jackaroo. He was bred in Co Galway by Patrick McGarry out of the Voltaire mare Smoocheen Nestor.

Doerflinger finished second and third here on two of Conroy’s home-bred mares, the five-year-old Milchem Classic Edition chesnut Milchem Illusion (29.5) and the year younger Milchem Ladybird (32.25), a chesnut daughter of Ganesh Hero Z (32.25).

Great start

There were 14 starters in that class and the same in Section B which was won by regional secretary Marie Dunne and Bundee (23.5 penalties) who had spent the previous day hunting with the East Galways.

Registered as Ahascragh Clover Lady, Bundee, who did some combined training in 2022, is a seven-year-old bay mare by Friary Clover. She was bred in Co Galway by Michael Heffernan out of Jeweller (by All The Diamonds).

Marjorie Hardiaman partnered her well-known home-bred Connemara gelding Creganna Dandini (30.5) into second place with Amy Clarke finishing third on Flowerhill Okey Dokey (33.5).

“This was a great start to our league,” said a delighted Dunne. “It was a lovely day with a super atmosphere. We had great entries and lots of new faces with some sampling combined training for the first time. We received very positive feedback from competitors around the friendliness and calm atmosphere of the day. Our call-up steward, Ann Hanniffy, is so welcoming and keeps everything running so smoothly.”