THE much coveted young horse show jumping finals in the RDS are the main focus of many Irish yards’ competition-year and this August will be no exception. After the Dublin Horse Show’s cancellation in 2020 due to Covid-19 and the behind closed doors RDS National Championships last year, producers will be looking forward to getting their young horses back in front of the big crowds at Dublin.

The top youngsters aged from four to eight earned their chance to compete in Dublin after three qualifiers held in The Meadows, Mullingar and Barnadown during May and June.


In the four-year-olds section, eight combinations from each venue secured their Dublin ticket, therefore a total of 24 will go forward to battle it out in Ballsbridge.

Over the three competitions, horses were awarded points for future potential, rideability and jumping technique by Judges Thomas Schonig from Hanoverian Society and Roland Metz from the Holsteiner Verband.

At the first qualifier in The Meadows Equestrian Centre, Aoife Cuffe’s Dunard Lady Dominator, a mare by Dominator 2000 Z out of Lady Amaretto (Captain Clover), ridden by Ita McDermott, scored the highest mark of 83 points to earn their place.

Mt Luxaan, a mare by Cazaan out of Lux So Easy (Lux Z), who was bred by Gareth Carlisle and is owned and was ridden by Clare Abbott, took the runner-up spot on a score of 80. Junior rider Stephen Gibbons guided his mother Jane’s Ceide Candy Heart, a gelding by Garryduff Jar of Hearts out of Ceide Heather Honey (Sligo Candy Boy) into third place with 78.5 points.

The second qualifier in Mullingar saw the highest mark over all three competitions awarded to Edel Dore’s Cape Tribulation (Womanizer x Cruising) with junior Kian Dore on board. They earned a very high score of 86.5 for the win. This would have to promote them to one of the favourites for the overall win heading into the final.

Deane Rogan was second there with Leestone Cascornet (Cornet Obolensky x Cascarillo), owned by Declan McGarry, on a score of 83.5, while Ger O’Neill’s Undeniably Dignified (Dignified Van’t Zorgvliet x Cruisings Micky Finn) with Jason Foley in the saddle took third on 83.

At the final qualifier in Barnadown, the win went to Vincent Byrne with Gone Girl VB (Emerald Van’t Ruytershof x Cobra) who scored 83.5. The Minister for Defence’s CBI Slieve Bloom (Douglas x Colestus) and Lt Adam Benson Byrne were runners-up on 83, while Ronan Rothwell’s Boleybawn Alvaro (Dominator Z x Crown Z), ridden by Jack McKeon, were third on 80.5.

The above-mentioned nine would have had a confidence boost with their top-three finishes in the qualifiers, but with over six weeks between the final qualifier and the Dublin Horse Show, and taking into account how quickly a four-year-old can learn, it is definitely all still to play for and should make for superb viewing over the three days in the Simmonscourt arena.

The classes will take place on Wednesday, 17th at 4.15pm, Friday, 19th at 8am, with the final for the Seamus Hughes Perpetual Challenge Trophy and the Mo Chroí National four-year-old title at 2.35pm on Saturday afternoon.

Harry Wood won the five-year-old qualifier at The Meadows EC with ESI Indigo \ Tori O'Connor Photography


The five-year-old division attracted large entries to all three qualifiers. At the first class in The Meadows some 106 combinations lined out for the 12 places on offer; making it 36 horses lining out in Dublin.

Ennisnag Stud’s stallion ESI Indigo (Dakar VDL x Guidam) proved best of the bunch that day with young rider Harry Wood in the saddle. Taylor Cummins rode Sharon Fitzpatrick’s CBI Invictus (Tyson x Diamant De Semilly), bred by Carroll Brothers Ireland, into second place. Connaberry Luck (Goodluck VDL x Ard Vdl Douglas) took third place for owner/rider David Moran and breeder Andrew Lyons in 39.91.

At the second event in Mullingar, 110 horses made up the start list. Of the 110, 39 were clear in the first round to progress to the second. Some 22 then kept a clean sheet to progress to the third.

Of these, 13 provided a triple clear round so, after all that jumping just one combination, Springrove Supernova and Billy Sinnott missed out on a place in Dublin.

Once again Ennisnag Stud proved their strength and depth in this age category when their Dutch-bred stallion Mendoza VDL (Harley VDL x Cardento), partnered by Harry Wood, produced the winning round to head proceedings.

Gemma Phelan and her own Philly Fogerty (Aganix Du Seigneur x Harlequin du Carel) were second, while Mikey Pender, riding his own Belgian-bred Servilla Van De Berghoeve Z took third.

At the final qualifier in Barnadown, some 92 horses started. Of these just five combinations kept a clean sheet though all three rounds, they were HHS Vilamoura (Quite Capitol II x Beach Ball) and Carl Webb, BP Tiny Dancer (Plot Blue x Concorde) with Niamh McEvoy, ESI Nixon (Dakar VDL x Simba) ridden by Gemma Phelan, Kilcorig Leonidas (Womanizer x KIlcorig Little Meeka) and Luke Campbell, and Gemma Phelan with her second mount, Coolishal (Presidential Ball x HHS BR Charlton).The top seven four-faulters earned the final Dublin places on offer and will be included in the 36-strong starters for the first two days jumping in Simmonscourt on Thursday at 3.20pm and 1.30pm on Friday.

The final takes place in the main arena on Sunday at 8am where the 2022 ‘Flexible’ National Championship will be decided.

Sean Kavanagh and Castlebridge Logan, winners of the six-year-old qualifier at The Meadows \ Tori O'Connor Photography


There were 36 places on offer for the six-year-old horses over the three qualifiers; each day offering 12 spots.

At the first class in The Meadows, 57 competitors took on the 1.30m two-round decider. On that occasion it was Brendan and Pauline Finlay’s Castlebridge Logan (Tolan R x Thunder Van De Zuuthoeve) which took first place under breeder/rider Sean Kavanagh.

Seamus Hughes Kennedy, riding his own and Ciara Kearney’s Ronnie Hollinger-bred Curra Ferro (S Creevagh Ferro Ex Siebe x Mount Diamond Flag) took second place, while third was the home-bred Kancruise (Kannan x Cruising) for owner/rider Deirdre Doyle.

At the second competition in Mullingar a start-list of 63 was reduced to 19 after they produced clear first rounds. Just nine of the 19 went clear in the second round so they shared first place. The remaining three places went to the fastest four faulters.

At the final qualifier in Barnadown, 62 competitors started over the Tom Holden-designed 1.30m track to try to earn one of the last 12 places on offer.

Just seven managed to produce a double clear round which gave them a place to compete at Dublin. They included the Army Equitation School’s Glendarragh (Future Trend x Aldatus Z) with Lt Adam Benson Byrne in the saddle; Ennisnag Stud’s HK Carrera (Carrera VDL x Zambesi) and Oisin Aylward; Wesley Ryan aboard his own El Pablito (Cobra x Guidam);

Jennifer Kuehnle and her father Hans’ Tullibards Bennys Special (Tullibards Bennys Legacy x Cavalier Royale); Paddy O’Donnell with Rebecca Veale Hennessy’s Cluttahina Lighting (OBOS Quality 004 x Clover Hill); Gemma Phelan and Dan Galavan’s Lisdara Clooney (Cruising Arish x Touchdown); Ballinaguilkey Fusion Exchange (Tullabeg Fusion x O.B.O.S Quality 004) with owner/rider Tracy Walshe.

Alistair McIvor’s Mr Basil (Plot Blue x Hermes De Reve), ridden by Jonathan Smyth, and Rose Dempsey’s Miss Stella (Stetter x Red Navaho) with Robyn Moran also secured a spot despite having one fence down.

The final three places also went to four-falters Kilmountain Saphira (KMS Chicago x Womanizer) with Tony O’Donohue; the Marion Hughes-owned and bred HHS Cyprus (Cornet Obolensky x Acorado), ridden by Alexandre Jose Pereira Traviaa dos Ramos Faustino, and Michael Roche’s Mr Rocky Blue (Chacoon Blue x Artos Z).

All of the competitions for the six-year-old division take place in the main arena with the first class starting at 9am on Wednesday morning.

The second competition is on Thursday at 6.15pm. The final to decide the Cruising National Champion takes place on Sunday at 9.05am.

Mikey Pender and HHS Cornetta, winners seven/eight-year-old qualifier in Mullingar \ Laurence Dunne

Seven and Eight-Year-Olds

For the seven and eight-year-olds, nine places at each of the three qualifiers meant that 27 places were on offer to Irish riders. This division is run as an international class and offers a further 24 places for international horses of this age range.

At the first qualifier in The Meadows, the 71 starters were reduced to 21 for the second round. Of these, just eight kept a clean sheet throughout and the top-six of these were just seven years old.

Once again Ennisnag Stud came to the fore when their ESI Ali (Stakkato Gold x Tygo) and Seamus Hughes Kennedy proved best of the bunch taking the top spot, over a second and a half ahead of runner-up Sorcha Hennessy’s Inlaws Manolo (Corland x Lord Z) and Derek McConnell. Timmy Brennan and Disdema Della Caccia (Diamant De Semilly x Cardento) took third.

Mikey Pender and HHS Cornetta made their mark at the second qualifier in Mullingar, winning the competitive class by a margin of well over a second.

At just seven-years-old, this Marion Hughes-owned and bred mare, who is by Cornet Obolensky out of HHS Acorado (Acorado) has been cruising through every challenge she has been set this year; finishing as runner-up in the HSI Studbook Series Final in The Meadows in April, as well as in Barnadown in May.

Some 81 combinations lined out for the 1.40m class and only 33 managed to produce a clear first round. Of the 33 just, 11 left all the fences intact and Pender proved fastest of these to secure the win.

Another seven-year-old William McDonnell’s PLS Somers Knight (OBOS Quality 004 x Harlequin Du Carel), ridden by Brendan Murphy, came closest to catching him but had to settle for the runner-up spot. Bronte Stable’s All Pleasure Hero II (Aganix Du Seigneur x For Pleasure) with Dermott Lennon aboard took third place.

At the final qualifier in Barnadown Niamh McEvoy guided Greg Broderick’s eight-year-old Belgian-bred mare Olivia De Muze (EL Torreo De Muze x Lord Z) to the win.

Ethen Ahearne and his own Dutch-bred gelding Jack Sparrow took the runner-up spot, while Highfort Stud’s seven-year-old mare Much Loved (Luidam x Larissa), ridden by Francis Connors, were third.

The startlist for the first seven and eight-year-old class could consist of as many as 51 combinations when it begins in Simmonscourt at 6pm on Wednesday.

The second class takes place at 10.20am on Friday in the main arena, with the final to decide the championship on Sunday at 10.30am in the main RDS arena.