MICHAEL O’Toole was one of four riders to record their first international success at Ballindenisk last weekend, doing so in the ARK Equine CCI3*-L where his total of 32.3 on the Dutch Warmblood gelding Icco included 1.2 show jumping time penalties.
“It should have been my second!” pointed out O’Toole who was one of the FEI-sanctioned treating veterinary surgeons at the Fell family’s Co Cork venue. “I thought I had won the CCI3*-S at Kilguilkey in July on First Obama and, with everyone cheering, I punched the air coming through the cross-country finish. About an hour later, I discovered I’d been eliminated for leaving out the fourth fence!”
On Sunday, Co Kilkenny-based US international Gillian Beale King finished second on her dressage score with Richard Ames’s nine-year-old OBOS Quality 004 gelding Ballyvillane OBOS (33.6) while the best of the British raiders in third was Fiona Kashel who was a second over the time in the show jumping phase with Geko (34.9). Co Wexford’s Patrick Byrne recorded the only double clear inside the time to finish sixth on his own nine-year-old KEC Maximum Joe gelding Boleys Maximum (36.9).
There was disappointment for Britain’s Ailsa Wates who led following the dressage phase judged by John Lyttle (C) and Faith Ponsonby (B) on her April winner here Fonbherna Lancer (26.5) as the 12-year-old was one of two horses to retire across the country, while another was eliminated.
Icco, a nine-year-old gelding by Dantos HBC out of the Goodtimes mare Utina, began his eventing career here with Daisy Duggan from whom O’Toole purchased the bay towards the end of 2020. “It was only when I read Róisín Sheridan’s Owner column in The Irish Field recently that I learned that the horse was brought into this country by Killian Gaffney,” commented O’Toole.
“It has taken a bit of time for us to gell together but we’ve had a good end to this season as we also won the EI115 at Tattersalls in August and were seventh in the EI115 (Open) at the national championships where I took it handy across the country knowing we were coming here. We’ll aim him at a four-star-short early next season.
“I love Ballindenisk, especially the cross-country as there is great space between the fences so you can get a horse to gallop and jump and they invariably come on from a run here. While I’d just the one horse here this time, I had a look at the other three tracks and thought them open and encouraging. The ground was great and the Fells should be thanked for their service to eventing.”