WITH the event season just two weeks old, and already with one win under her belt, Co Meath rider Amanda Goldsbury was in unstoppable form at Blackstairs last Sunday. In a career first, New Zealand-born Goldsbury racked up a phenomenal four-timer, describing the day as ‘surreal’. Having headed the feature EI 115, she then proceeded to sweep up in both the EI 110 and the 100 classes, before concluding with a final victory in EI90.

Goldsbury’s quartet of horses largely dominated from the front, and their successes vindicated the decision to return to the Co Wexford for the second week in succession. “They have all really benefitted from their runs here,” she reflected. “They have learned to cope with the undulations, and had a much better handle on it second time around.”

Running over the same weekend as Tyrella, the entry was not quite as full as the organisers may have hoped for, but those who did attend were complimentary about the changes that had been made to the tracks over past 14 days. “The water had been altered as well at several fences on the latter end of the course,” added Goldsbury. “The going was good, and had more give than I expected.”

This was the final fixture of two spring meetings at the scenic venue, and thanks and congratulations are due to host Ger O’Connor, his organising team led by course designer Ray Doyle and Rose Cummins, as well as the ongoing support from members of the Ballinagore Hunt.

EI 115 (O) class

Goldsbury’s first strike came early in the day, when teaming up with Nichole Roden’s Fernhill Inspector, she recorded a double clear round in the fastest time of the class. Having opened in third spot of the nine runners, this feat promoted her ahead of first phase leader, but subsequently slower, Ian Cassells with Rosconnell Alto. Cassells was speedier with Woodendfarm Jack O D however, to fill second, from Louise Bloomer who was also clear with Hollybrook Hotshot.

The winner, who competed in England for five seasons, and who under Goldsbury won the CCI2*S at Millstreet last autumn, now plans to upgrade at Ballindenisk later this month. Bred by Stephen Kelleher, the 11-year-old is a half-brother to the four-star event horse Caraghs Buffet, and is son of Tinaranas Inspector out of the Clover Hill mare Helvick Clover.

Ian Cassells, who was just out of luck at Tyrella the previous day, bounced back to fill the top three placings in the restricted division. Leading the five starters from flag fall, he headed the group with new ride Shanaclough Carmen who, owned and bred by John Glynn, was formerly ridden by Jessica O’Driscoll. Very well related, the mare hails from a great family being by Aldatus Z out of a sibling to the Geoff Curran-ridden five-star horse Shanaclough Crecora, and to Shanclough Clovertone, who Glynn rode in the three-star ranks.

“Jess has done a very good job producing her, and she felt very established,” stated Cassellls. “I’m delighted to have John as an owner, and I think he has a nice horse for the future.”

Ranked largely by the clock, Cassells piloted Frances Corkery’s dressage leader Shanbo Super Flex (Flexible) into the runner-up spot, from the second of the Glynn string Shanaclough Quality Clover.

Rogers stars

Junior European team members India Rogers and Hollybrook Star clocked up their first win in open company in the EI110 (O). The Co Wicklow-based pair headed the quintet of starters from the outset, completing in front of Ruth Burke (SRS Mini Vendi) by nearly eight marks.

With 17 runners, the EI110 restricted was a much more open affair, and landing the second of her wins, Amanda Goldsbury took the top spot with Zazel McCarthy’s smart seven-year-old Finsceal Endeavor. Kicking off the proceedings to earn a mark of 22.3 from flat work judge Sarah Jane Doyle, Goldsbury kept a clean sheet to emerge as one of only three to return home within the time. With a qualification for Le Lion D’Angers as an early season aim, Goldsbury is giving this daughter of Metropole some mileage before Zazel’s daughter Amelia takes over the ride. “She’s small and compact - just my type,” enthused the rider, who plans to move the mare up a level soon.

A little adrift of the winner on the flat, but also double clear, Patrick Whelan rode his recent course and distance winner Penny Delight into second, from Orlaith Delamare and Jenny Spinner.