WHILE other sporting bodies are keen to have more female competitors coming to the fore, it’s been good to see so many male members of Dressage Ireland winning this year and they claimed two of the three classes for young Irish-bred horses at Greenogue Equestrian last Sunday.
At Preliminary level, John Gavin landed the four-year-old qualifier with his Cobra gelding, Holywell Spark. Just four combinations came before Liam Maloney who awarded the winner a score of 76.80% ahead of the Sorrell Klatzko-owned, ridden and bred Don Juans Doll (74.60), a chesnut mare by Don Juan de Hus who had won here in September and at Portmore.
Second in September and a winner at Abbotstown, Holywell Spark was bred in Co Tipperary by Jacinta O’Donoughue out of the Contador mare Oneforthenotebook. “He’s a tall horse so I’m giving him plenty of time to find his feet,” said Gavin who boards the bay at Killossery Lodge Stud. “He has done very little jumping so I don’t know if he’s an eventer or a dressage horse.
“This series has been a great success. You can see how horses have progressed since week one and there’s great prize-money on offer. Hopefully Horse Sport Ireland will repeat its sponsorship next year.”
When speaking to Gavin on Monday evening, he was unaware that he and Holywell Spark were to be confirmed winners of the non-restricted Preliminary class where Jane Whitaker had awarded them a score of 75.80% ahead of Caitlin King riding Shogs (75).
Covid-19 has resulted in extra work in his day job for Gavin who, as operations manager of Oireachtas TV, has been constantly on the go between Leinster House and the Convention Centre in Dublin following the introduction of social-distancing restrictions.
Jane Whitaker judged the five-year-old Novice class where the only combination to score over 70% was Gavin Smiddy on DSH Showtime (73.39), an OBOS Quality 004 gelding who had four outings in EI100 company during the late summer. Sonya McCormack finished second with the consistent ex-racehorse Misneach (68.71), a Mahler gelding who won at Portmore.
Second at Abbottstown, DSH Showtime was bred in Co Limerick by Joseph O’Reilly out of the Master Imp mare Caherline Kitty. He is thus a full-brother of the 2014 gelding Claragh Olala who, under Michael Ryan, won an EI110 at Grove in September and concluded his season next time out when second in the prestigious Michael Leonard championship for five and six-year-olds at Ballindenisk.