Mullingar International Grand Prix CSI2*

NIAMH McEvoy further cemented her place as ‘the one to watch’ in Irish show jumping when she won the bank holiday Monday’s feature class, the 1.45m International Grand Prix at the CSI2* in Mullingar. This win came 24 hours after she was victorious in Sunday’s 1.45m jump-off.

These superb victories followed on from her win in Balmoral in May where she took the Bottlegreen Horse Sport Ireland Grand Prix, as well as her double of wins at the Cavan International in November 2021 where she captured the 1.45m Grand Prix and the 1.40m WKD jump-off class.

Riding Robin Bingham’s 12-year-old mare Templepatrick Welcome Limmerick, the 18-year-old young rider bested a large field of 53 combinations to take the lion’s share of the €25,500 prize fund.

Bred by Dorothea Wilson from Omagh, the mare is by Limmerick out of the Lux Z mare Go Luckey. McEvoy took over the ride from Peter Smyth in March 2021 and the duo immediately began collecting wins and top-five placings at 1.35m and beyond.

Speaking to The Irish Field following the win, McEvoy said: “I’m so delighted with the win. She is such a trier. I got her at the end of last year and it took me a while to get used to her but she is one of those mares that really fights for you and that’s what I really love about her. She has a great mind, she can be a little bit sharp in the warm-up and sometimes to the first jump she gets a little bit excited but once you get going she’s easy to ride.

“Her flatwork has really come on, Peter Smyth did such a good job with her as a youngster; he always had her really confident and that stands to her now. It all seems to have come together which is great for me.

“On Monday she was very quick to the first two fences. Then turning back to the third last fence, the oxer she did one less stride than the others, you can turn her so tight back to, even an oxer, and she’s so brave and careful you can put a lot of trust in her.

“Next up now she will have a few quiet weeks; plenty of turnout and we’ll just keep her ticking over and then hopefully we get selected for the up and coming European Junior Championships in Oliva Nova, Spain in the second week of July.

“She’s leading the Premier Series at the moment and I would love to get one of the places on offer for the internationals in Dublin from that, but whether we make it back to do the Tattersalls show or not we will just have to see.

“It may just be too much for her and we would always think of her first, but to get to do the internationals in Dublin would be a dream come true for me.”

Cool head

McEvoy, a previous European gold medal winner in ponies, kept a cool head in the four-way jump-off securing the victory in a time of 35.15, almost half a second faster than her closest rival.

Tara Coffey’s Cnoc Rua Chinook, ridden by Jason Foley, took the runner-up spot posting a time of 35.47. Cnoc Rua Chinook is by the late stallion Pacino who won this class for Clem McMahon back in 2012, and is out of Cnoc Rua Lucy by Ramiro B.

Third place went to TJM Amour Fou with the aforementioned Clem McMahon in the saddle.

By Diamant De Semilly out of Catani Z by Cicero Z, he was bred and is owned by TJM Equestrian and Hilton Farm.

Britain’s Alicia Page riding another one by Pacino, the stallion Hillcoote Border Fox, produced the only other double-clear round for fourth place.

Jason Foley and his second mount, Breen Equestrian’s stallion Clyde VA (Caretino x Quintero), slotted into fifth on three time faults, while sixth was Quebello D and Adam Carey as the fastest four-faulter.