IT was great to see so many Branches recognise the efforts of members who have been selected to represent Ireland in upcoming underage European championships.
Kildare members who have been selected for the Pony Europeans taking place in Strzegom, Poland from August 3rd to 7th are Ben Connors (Cornafest Fred), Tom Nestor (Tullaree Ruby Tuesday or Freddie), Claire O’Ryan (Carhu Melody or Fanta Cross) and Eliza Jane Queally (Kilcoltrim Swift).
Also selected are Meath members Matthew Love (Cloughreagh Charlie or Lucky For Some) and Josh Williamson (Ardeo Fireman or Rockon Pedro) while the latter’s sister Carla (Galco) has been selected as a non-travelling reserve as has Waterford’s Gearóid Bolger (Whitethorn Honeys Rock).
The Waterfords will also be cheering on Lilly Larkin who, with Blokland’s Hoeve’s Amor, has been selected for the European Pony dressage championships which take place in Strzegom at the same time.
Also selected are Carbery Branch member Jess Grogan (Klein Roderijs Gold Fee), one-time Killinick member Oscar O’Connor (Top Hero 2 or Veenstra’s Grapjas) and Ellen McDonald (Dante Alighieri) who is a member of the Iveagh Branch in Area 17 of The Pony Club (Northern Ireland).
There are also many present and past Pony Club members among the squad selected for the European Junior eventing championships at Hartpury College (July 25th to 31st) viz Kildare’s Julia Adams (Milchem Ardeo), Tipperary’s Aine Connolly (Castlequarter Rambo), East Galway’s Godfrey Gibbons (Milchem Free Spirit), Westmeath’s Ted O’Leary (My Ballintoghers Cracker Jack), East Down’s Tom Rowlatt McCormick (Mon Ami Alme) and Tipperary’s Susan Shanahan (Eisfee).
Here, the non-travelling reserves are Shillelagh’s Sarah Keane (Lon Mac Liomhtha), Meath’s Amelia McCarthy (Tillystown Girl) and Tipperary’s Keelin McCarthy (Romans Mr Kane).
Some members/former members have recently made their racecourse debuts most notably Dylan Kidd, a one-time Meath member who, on his very first ride as an apprentice, won a €100,000 flat handicap at Leopardstown on the Jessica Harrington-owned and -trained Jungle Cove.
In the one-mile, seven-furlong amateur flat race on the same card, Kildare’s Jack O’Haire finished fourth on his debut on the 150/1 shot Samad.
The following evening at Kilbeggan, where he rode the 50/1 chance Bowtie, Jack finished third in the bumper which also featured the debut ride of former Laois Branch member Josh Halford.
Last Saturday, on her 24th racecourse ride, former Scarteen member Sylvia O’Donnell won the prestigious Kildare Village Ladies Derby at the Curragh.
Her mount was the 6/1 shot Extensio, a five-year-old Xtension gelding who is trained for her mother Una by her father Pat.
Sylvia, who has held a number of jobs in the racing, sales and breeding industries, both here and abroad, works full-time for the BBA outside Kill in Co Kildare but rides out two lots each morning for trainer Ken Condon.
At weekends, she returns home to Kilmallock to work with her parents. Sylvia is a sister of former jockey Patrick O’Donnell who now works for the Hong Kong Jockey Club. He, too, was once a member of the Scarteen Branch.