WITH so many young male riders being drawn towards racing – as he may be in the future – we have to acknowledge Jasper Kelly’s victory in the EI100 (J) at Punchestown on Sunday when the other 11 classes were won by female competitors.

Nineteen combinations came before Jean Halpenny in the morning’s dressage phase, Kelly went into the lead on Tanya Lock’s Connemara mare Rathcline Moonlight Girl, a nine-year-old daughter of Moonlight Silver Shadow, going on to complete on his flatwork mark of 27.8 penalties. Also recording one of four double clears to finish second was Annie O’Neill with another Connemara, Castlestrange Misty Boy (29.3).

Kelly and O’Neill recorded the only sub 30-penalty dressage scores in their class as did the Connors siblings, Alex and Ben, in the eight-strong EI110 (P)and by some margin too! Well used to the hallowed ground of Punchestown, thanks to their membership of the Kildare Branch of the Irish Pony Club, the pair recorded the only clears in the show jumping ring and were fastest across the country although they did pick up a small number of time penalties apiece.

Alex took the honours on her 2019 European pony championships ride, the wonderful Millridge Buachaill Bui(20.2), a 17-year-old Templebredy Fear Bui gelding who was having his first EI outing of the season, while Ben slotted into second with his 2021 European individual silver medallist and team bronze mount, the Connemara gelding Cornafest Fred (27.3).

Riding OLS Pixie Hollow, Alex didn’t fare so well in the eight-runner EI110 (J) where four show jumping penalties didn’t stop Momo Sheehy recording her first success at this level with her new ride for this season, her father Morgan’s 10-year-old Zirocco Blue VDL gelding, TMX Herby (34.8).

In the 12-strong EI100 (P), Clodagh McCarthy placed second with Breakfast At Tiffanys (38), sandwiched between Anna Nangle and her two Connemaras, Blackwoodland Breeze (33.8), a 12-year-old Glencarrig Prince gelding, and Carracanada Kieran (39.5). It was third time lucky under Eventing Ireland rules for Yvonne Daly who saw off 12 rivals to win the EI90 (P) on the 20-year-old grey gelding, Woodfield Prancer.