THE combined training league staged by the Munster Region of Eventing Ireland at Maryville Stables reached its conclusion at the Carrigaline equestrian centre last Sunday.
It’s testament to the commitment of Ana Maria Hughes and family to the sport that the league went ahead this year as, sadly, due the death of her mother Nuala on February 1st, Ana Maria had to postpone the first leg while, thanks to Storm Eunice, the second round had to be put back a week.
Nuala, who died following a short illness, was a long-standing amateur rider and an instantly recognisable volunteer at events across the Munster Region. She and her family have flawlessly organised this well-supported combined training league for the past seven years and while others took over the running of the qualifiers, Ana Maria and her father Kieran were back at the helm for Sunday’s final.
In racing terms, Wayne Santry came with a well-timed challenge to claim the EI80 title with Ye Chancer Ye as this Wild Atlantic Sport Horses combination were the only league winners to score on finals day, completing on their dressage mark of 31 penalties for series tally of nine points. Former jockey David Splaine finished second both on Sunday (31.5) and in the league (seven) with the five-year-old Irish Sport Horse Rathcoursey, a West Coast Cavalier mare whose breeders, Allen and Paul Brady, were present to see her run each week.
Ye Chancer Ye, a 2017 Dylan Thomas gelding who was bred by Dixie Cotterell out of the unraced Presenting mare Arotie, pulled up in a four-year-old point-to-point bumper at Wexford in March last year on his only start for Co Kilkenny trainer Dusty Sheehy.
“We got the horse in June and I regard him as a bit of a fun project,” said Santry whose Maryville winner competed at the two Co Wexford legs of the Horse Sport Ireland affiliate combined training challenge, qualifying when second at Wexford Equestrian. “We’re heading to the HSI final at CoilÓg on Sunday (tomorrow) and then we’ll be going back to Wexford Equestrian for the Stepping Stones league. If he’s not sold after that, I’ll probably event him myself.”
Kate Walsh, a staunch supporter of this series, won the EI90 league (13 points) with Valiant Dancer, her 15-year-old palomino gelding who, on 27.3 (which included four show jumping penalties), finished fourth on Sunday behind Niamh Mulcahy and the ISH gelding Coronado Clover (26.3), a 17-year-old son of Coronado.
Patricia Ryan won Sunday’s EI100 final on Carol and Tom Henry’s two-star eventer Rock Eclipse (23.8 penalties), a seven-year-old ISH gelding by Chinook Eclipse. However, on nine points, she had to settle for second in the league behind Zora Feurer and her home-bred ISH gelding Mealagh Flapjack (10). Third on Sunday (28), this 13-year-old Solo Jordan bay is out of the Cloughjordan Boy VII mare Lady Drombrow VII.
Michael Ryan topped the leaderboard in Sunday’s EI110 final with the Henrys’ ISH mare My Bright Spark (32.3) but, on eight points, he and the six-year-old Quantino bay, couldn’t better the 10-point tally of Rebecca Dunlea and her ISH gelding Clonguish Berjo. Dunlea and the eight-year-old Camillo VDL chesnut picked up their clinching four points when third on Sunday on 34.5.
Although Michael Ryan and Nick Pomeroy’s ISH gelding Claragh Mountain (35.8) were beaten into second in Sunday’s Intermediate final by Sadhbh Bolger and the 11-year-old Ghareeb gelding Cooley Cappuccino (33.3), he and the nine-year-old Puissance bay, winners of the CCI4*S at Ballindenisk last September, claimed the league title on 15 points.
The league prizes were once again generously sponsored by O’Brien Saddlery.