ADVERSE weather conditions unfortunately compelled the team at Kilguilkey House to cancel last month’s keenly anticipated Sema Lease international fixture, but with the forecast looking good for next weekend’s showcase, the green light is well and truly lit.

Preparations are of course all in place, as Danny and Michelle Dulohery look forward to finally welcoming visitors, both from overseas and those on home turf. “We have a good number of entries, which is very pleasing,” commented Danny. “The course is looking great, and we have 500,000 gallons of water ready to spread if needed.”

Supported for the second year in succession by Richard Ames and Sema Lease, the popular venue offers eight classes split between the long and short format sectors from four-star down to Intro. In addition, there will be the running of a leg of the HSI four-year-old development league, as well as a long format class for ponies.

Rewardingly for the organisers, there will be a strong international flavour as riders from eight nations hold entries. Among the highest profile of these are the Australian silver medallist Kevin McNab, the recent Ballindenisk winner, and Luhmuhlen five-star runner-up Kirsty (née Johnson) Chabert, as well as Samantha Lissington from New Zealand. British five-star rider Louise Harwood joins compatriot Tom Grant to make the journey from England while new visitors to Irish eventing will be the Moroccan competitor Noor Slaoui and Yu Xuan Su from Hong Kong. There are many more competing who are currently resident in Ireland including the American duo of Gillian Beale King and Cornelia Dorr, Storm O’Connor who flies the flag for South Africa, and French rider Rachel Rendle.


The four long format classes are headed by the CCI4*-L which this year is generously supported for the first time by Lightsource BP. Unfortunately, at the time of writing there are just five entries, with Ian Cassells and Brian Morrison featuring as Ireland’s sole representatives.

Morrison will ride the experienced four-star campaigner Global Mentor, while Cassells partners the level first-timer Woodendfarm Jack OD. Having made their CCI4*-L debut at Millstreet earlier this year, Samantha Lissington (Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ) represent New Zealand, leaving British visitors Alexander Torduff (Cool Jack) and Louise Harwood (Native Spirit) to complete the quintet. The latter named is by far the most experienced of the British duo, have run at Bramham earlier this spring.

As staunch supporters at the venue, the locally based Global Sport Horses are the title sponsors in the well filled CCI4*-S which, with 29 runners appears to be a very competitive class. Eleven of these are from overseas, but emerging as one of a handful of likely favourites will be Ireland’s Joseph Murphy aboard his top worlds’ prospect Calmaro.

A course-and-distance winner 12 months ago, he has enjoyed a string of good results in recent weeks, including a fourth-placed run in the prestigious CCIO4*-S at Aachen, and a top-10 placing in Kentucky.

Murphy will not have things his own way however, as Australia’s Kevin McNab teams up with his Olympic silver medal-winning partner Scuderia 1918 Don Quidam, who was also well placed in Kentucky last year. The recent Ballindenisk three-star winners Kirsty Chabert and Opposition Aphrodite also look to be in with a strong chance, while Gillian Beale-King who rides for title sponsor Richard Ames, has three contenders.

The second of the long format showcases, the Horse Sport Ireland CCI3*-L has attracted 14 runners to date. Gisburn rider Steven Smith looks strong here with Mike of Mourne, while Joseph Murphy could be the dark horse with Belline Fighting Spirit. Riding for Richard Ames, Beale King is also well mounted with three live chances, leaving Ian Cassells (Shanaclough Quality Clover and Shanbo Superflex), Michael O’Toole (Icco) and Casey Webb (HHF Elegance) to complete a powerful home challenge.


Away from competition, Michelle and Danny will host a party for riders, sponsors and their connections on Friday evening, while the sponsors and owners will also have a tent dedicated for their use for the duration.

Among the remaining class sponsors are Bretland Construction who are lending their support to the show jumping arenas, Eventing Ireland as the title sponsors for the CCI2*-L, while Colliers give their name to the CCIP2*-L. The CCI3*-S runs under the title of DJI Group, Module, (CCI2*-S) leaving Black Rainbow who give their name to the CCI*Intro.