JAN Boons (Lorrha Lady) and Sinead Boyd (Hollpark Lady) won the RC 90 Pairs competition for the second year in a row at the Connolly’s Red Mills AIRC National Hunter Trials Championships last Sunday at Annaharvey Farm.
They were the only pair to complete the 19-fence course with a clean sheet in a time of 6’16, just four seconds off the optimum time, writes David Abbott.
Sinead Boyd said after their win that: “Jan and I have competed in this competition for a number of years and we’ve had some success with a couple of seconds and a third place as well. Last year we finally won and we were delighted but to win again this year was just fantastic. We’ll be back next year to go for the three in a row.”
An optimum time is used at the championships rather than against the clock when competitors were given a 20-second window to complete the course but if they finished outside of this, they incurred time penalties at a rate of one per second or part thereof.
Stephanie Forde claimed the RC 90 Championship when the Corrib member crossed the finish line with nothing to add after her 10-year-old chesnut mare, Merlin Vixon, crossed the line bang on the target of 5’54. Patricia Farrell took the runner-up spot on Moylaw Brando after the Kilrainy rider was four seconds adrift.
Just 12 of the 52 starters in the RC 80 Championship completed the course with a clean sheet where Rachel O’Connell claimed the spoils on Postal Code (IRE). The 17-year-old brown gelding stopped the clock on the optimum time of 6’24 giving the Tullaroan resident a narrow victory for Thomastown and District Riding Club ahead of Inishowen’s Dawn McAllister who picked up three time penalties on Farrah in second place.
Rachel was delighted with the win and said: “I’ve had Cody for 18 months but because of a knee injury I didn’t start riding him seriously until Christmas with a view to entering the Nationals. My last horse had left my confidence knocked and the thoughts of competing at a national event were overwhelming, but with the support of good friends and my beautiful honest horse, the hours of training paid off with our surprise win.”
Finola Clogher (Killallon Grey Mist) and Kim Gannon (Tullycommon Hamish) won the RC 80 Pairs for after they completed the course with nothing to add. The Kilraint duo crossed the line just two seconds adrift of the target of 6’54.
The top five finishers in the RC 100 Championship all completed the test across the country on a clean sheet leaving the clock to separate them. Carol Mulvihill completed closest to the optimum time on her five-year-old brown gelding, Valentino 1, in a time of 5’44, just two seconds slower that the target of 5’42.
Aoife Horan had to settle for the runner-up spot after Holy Wells Bella, a seven-year-old grey mare was just a second slower for the Castledermot club.
Denise O’Brien continued her run of good fortune after a successful outing at last year’s show jumping championships when her 21-year-old Tommy B Good notched up a win in the RC 110 Championship. O’Brien said afterwards, “He’s 21 next week so it’s an early birthday present! He was brilliant over a great track, luckily I took a few pulls at the last to get the win! He’s a horse of a lifetime.”
Geraldine McMahon (Greenlough Hero) and Suzanne Arthur (Callows Rising) won the Mixed Pairs after the Burren riders were the only pair to finish on a zero score just one second over the target of 6’00. Simon Probin jumped the only clear round in the Young Horse competition on Kiltiernan Jim to claim the spoils after the Mill Road rider picked up 21 time penalties on the five-year-old bay gelding.