THE top-10 finishers in the 35-runner CCI2*-S at Ballindenisk last week all completed on the dressage scores they were awarded by Ireland’s Marie Hennessy (C ) and Paula Geiger (B) with Britain’s J.P. Sheffield claiming the top two spots throughout on the seven-year-old geldings Special K (24 penalties) and Sel Oscar (25.7).

Sheffield, who had been a judge and sponsor at the Stepping Stones to Success league finals at Wexford Equestrian on the Tuesday, expressed himself pleased with both horses who will next compete in the CCI2*-L at Houghton with one then being aimed at selection for Le Lion d’Angers.

Special K, a Dutch Warmblood gelding by Up To Date, competed in the six-year-old championships at the French venue last season when, with 12 show jumping penalties, he finished 28th. The grey, who won two national novice events last year, is owned in partnership between Alison Walton and Julie Deverill. With Mushill Farm, Walton also owns the Irish Sport Horse gelding Sel Oscar, a chesnut by Polanski who has two British Eventing novice wins to his credit.

“Alison loves coming to Ireland but, unfortunately, was unable to do so on this occasion,” said Sheffield who hadn’t competed here since August 2019. “I saw some nice horses at the Stepping Stones final and will be interested to see if they get to Dublin where I will be judging the young event horse classes.”

From a cosmopolitan entry, Hong Kong’s Patrick Lam, who was competing in Ireland for the first time, finished third and fifth with Jockey Club Highdown March (25.8) and the former Brian Morrison ride, Jockey Club Global Theodorus (27.4), a nine-year-old ISH gelding by Albaran.

Another England-based international, New Zealand’s Caroline Powell, a regular visitor to these shores, placed fourth on Tik Tok (25.8), a six-year-old Ulysses m2s gelding who is registered with the Warmblood Society of Ireland. Powell had an expensive pole down with the ISH gelding Tokara (registered here as Cullintra Quincy), a six-year-old by Quantino, who also picked up 3.2 cross-country time penalties to finish 11th on 33.4.

The best-placed Irish combination in sixth was Susan Shanahan and her mother Linda’s Hanoverian mare Eisfee, the winners of two EI110 (J) classes from two starts this season. Shanahan and the 15-year-old Embassy grey, who was previously partnered by Britain’s David Doel, recorded four wins at a similar level last season when they also represented Ireland at the European junior championships in Sweden.

The show jumping fences caused a lot more problems than those on the cross-country course where there was one retirement while two horses had a stop apiece.