THERE was an excellent entry in the Dublin Horse Show Irish Draught and Connemara performance qualifier held last Saturday at Forth Mountain Stud where the organisers of the Young Eventhorse Series took on an added qualifying division this year of ridden Connemaras.

In the performance section, the classes for younger animals were better supported. In the Irish Draught classes, 49 four- and five-year-olds met their engagements compared to 26 older horses. In the Connemara division, 57 five to seven-year-olds appeared in the Derby arena as did 30 eight- to 15-year-olds.

It was a long session for the organisers and, in the Derby arena, for the jumping judge Janet Kelly. The ridden display duties and conformation assessments were divided between Jill Spring and Anne Kirwan. With such a big entry, host for the day, James O’Connor had to open a new field across the road for parking and he organised for two ambulances from the local Wexford Town Order Of Malta unit to be present all day.

“I had plenty of help for the qualifier and would like to make particular mention of my livery yard clients,” said O’Connor. “It did get a bit hectic late in the week as a local outbreak of Covid meant some of my volunteers had to withdraw.”

A small number of riders who competed at the Young Eventhorse Series qualifier at Forth Mountain three days earlier were in action there again on Saturday, none were more successful than Co Down’s Gwen Scott who followed up her win on the Wednesday with one in Section B of the four- and five-year-old performance Irish Draught class.

Here her partner was the 2017 Gortfree Hero gelding Mountview Silver Fox who has enjoyed an excellent season already under Scott in breed performance and working hunter classes while Armagh owner Katie Crozier has ridden the grey to victory on the flat. The six-point winner is out of Noreen Tunney’s Agherlow mare Silver Lack.

Scott had to settle for second, but did secure another qualifying ticket, in Section A where Ratheoin Jack In A Box was beaten a point by fellow four-year-old Moylough Vision. The latter, a Dunsandle Diamond grey who was ridden for Kiltealy’s J.J. Bowe by Alice Griffin, is also out of an Agherlow mare, in this instance, Vincent Burns’s Cornamuckla Coleen.

Co Wicklow secondary schoolteacher Alicia Devlin Byrne disappointingly failed to book a ticket when second on The King’s Secret to Mountview Silver Fox but did do so when narrowly winning Section A of the six-year-old and upwards class on Gort Town Dancer. Another Gortfree Hero-sired winner, the seven-year-old grey was bred by Gerard Sweeney out of his Crosstown Dancer mare My Carrick Dolly.

Also qualifying here in second was the Liam Lynskey-owned, Hannah Gordon-ridden stallion DS Ballagh Bouncer.

The only horse to qualify out of Section B was the clear-cut winner LCS Time To Shine who was ridden for Co Westmeath’s Deirdre Dilger by Adam Campbell. The 11-year-old chesnut mare by Huntingfield Rebel was bred by Peter Doolan out of his Classic Vision mare Doolans Vision.