THE Laois Branch of the Irish Pony Club staged a very successful Connolly’s Red Mills qualifier last Sunday at its usual venue of Stradbally Hall where 202 combinations were entered for the seven classes.
Under the guidance of the IPC’s Ivan Hatton and Evan White, the cross-country courses were built by Joe Maher, Allen Dunne and Mario Giles and, while they posed some questions, they rode very well. The show jumping courses were built by Dermot Brislane.
The Killinick Branch won three classes with Isabelle Barry impressively claiming the honours in the 30-runner Intermediate class when completing on her winning dressage score with Kildromin Mentor (24 penalties). Her closest rival at end of the day was fellow Killinick member Grace Cousins who, too, added nothing to the flat work mark she attained on Sally Grey (30.3).
This was a second win in the series for Barry and the nine-year-old grey gelding Kildromin Mentor who now top the Intermediate league on 16 points ahead of the Meaths’ Clodagh McGauran (Cruising Caricello) and Wexford member Rebekah Rochowiak (Greannanstown Vivendi Girl) who are on 14 points apiece.
While Shillelagh’s Jane Fitzgerald is a long way clear in the Intro Intermediate league with Broomfield Banner (23 points), the Killinicks’ Lily-Mai Barry moved into second place (15 points) on Sunday thanks to her all-the-way win here on her much-admired ex-racehorse Skylanna Scatman (24.8). This was a second success too for Barry and the eight-year-old Tajraasi gelding who finished second twice in 11 starts in point-to-points.
The Killinick treble came up in Section C of the Junior competition where, again, there was an all-the-way success for Keira Crowther and the 12-year-old appaloosa gelding Tomoka Spots (20 penalties). Here, Kilkenny’s Eve Doyle finished second on Highwood Oak Of Shanbo (24) with Maya Byrne Moran of the Laois Branch slotting into third on Far Away Tale (29.5).
Crowther and Byrne are now sharing second spot in the league on 23 points behind Newcastle Lyons’s Hazel Gleeson and Redmondi Bobtail (30). Gleeson and the 15-year-old skewbald gelding also recorded a pillar-to-post success in Section A on Sunday, their score of 22.3 leaving them well clear of Wexford’s Molly Hennessy Murphy and My Late Find whose second-place total of 28 included four show jumping penalties.
Representing the Ward Union Branch, Charlotte Cully moved up from joint-second after dressage to win Section B on her flat work mark with the Connemara gelding Colemanstown Fred (25.5), a nine-year-old by Killyon King who has a good Eventing Ireland record to his credit. Island Branch member John Asple James finished second on Paddy Van Ringo (27).
North Kilkenny’s Mia Perry and Mulvey’s Marble increased their lead in the Under 12s’ league to 28 points when landing Sunday’s Section A on their dressage score (27.8) with Kildare’s Sophie McEvoy being left in front to win Section B on Harvest Mouse (28).
The Connolly’s Red Mills series continues tomorrow at Grove with the Killinicks holding their traditional mid-week fixture at Sleedagh on Wednesday.