Pony classes preview \ Emer Bermingham

WITH Dublin Horse Show back on the calendar, it came as no surprise that younger riders would be back out in force in a bid to secure a ticket to Ireland’s most prestigious horse show. This summer provided another opportunity to book a place with the addition of the pony age classes, which meant an extra 12 places available in both the 138cm and 148cm categories.

At the first qualifier in The Meadows, close to 300 combinations battled it out across the pony divisions. Westmeath’s Ted Fagan got the ball rolling as he took the win with the very experienced Kiltormer Ruby in the 128cm. The Fagan family will be very busy as Ted’s sister Alanna, who also was part of the Irish team at the Europeans, also qualified for the RDS.

Munster rider Thomas Meagher was less than a second behind in this line-up aboard Sasha to book his place. Seasoned competitors Elizabeth McCracken and Uquam secured their place when finishing third. One to watch is the very experienced Silver Legend, who will be returning after securing a place under the command of Lucy McCarthy, having claimed fifth at this decider.

Placed seventh in the opening qualifier at The Meadows, Kilkenny’s Robbie Sheehan and He’s A Touch of Magic went to the second qualifier at Barnadown where they took the first ticket in the 128cm class. Kilcreene ponies are no strangers to the RDS and the first of this line to secure a place was Kilcreene Snap Dragon, taking second place at The Meadows, under the command of Harry O’Callaghan.

In the penultimate round of Cavan qualifiers, the competition in the 128cm division went down to the wire with the top finishers staying within the 30-second mark in the jump-off. Georgia de Bromhead aboard Back In A Flash took the first qualifying ticket in this round. Following in his brother’s Kian’s footsteps, Jack Dore qualified at Cavan with Woodside Jerry-Lee.

Placed sixth in the championship in 2019 with Robyn McOwan, Little Miss Big Time will be making her return having qualified at the final round at Ard Chuain under the command of Matilde Hughes Bravo. The combination put in a blistering win, crossing the line over six seconds faster than the closest rival.

A new rider to the RDS, Henry Sinnott will be one to note having secured his place with S’prit de la Forge after taking the runner-up place at the final round. Donnacha Burns took over the ride on Coppenagh Viking just over a year ago and he is certainly making an impression, having claimed third in the final qualifier.

Mia de Bromhead (M) and Labanasigh Lexie (7yo), winners of 138 six and seven-year-old RDS Qualifier at Cavan Equestrian \ Laurence Dunne Jumpinaction.net

138cm division

Last year’s RDS Champion, Ruben Foley, booked his RDS place early when he took the first ticket in the 138cm division with Mayfly Green Peter at The Meadows. After that victory, this combination also went on to take the win in the 138cm Championship at Mullingar and were second in the Hive and ESI Pony Premier at Necarne.

In the round at The Meadows, three other triple clears were delivered from Annie Boland (Mayfly Black Pennel), Lauren Adams (Riot Del Pegulil) and Juliet Quirke and Blackwood Killamaster. Another to watch in this category is James Derwin and Ruby Brown having qualified at the opening round.

At the second qualifier at Barnadown, the first ticket in the 138cm decider went to Leinster’s Claudia Carroll after she delivered the fastest clear with Tynagh Sunshine. This combination were third in the Championship at Mullingar International and also went on to take the win in the qualifier at Cavan after delivering the only triple clear.

Emily O’Brien took the runner-up spot with Youghal Paddy for second place, ahead of Harry Rush and Conazar. Charlotte McCracken will join her sister Elizabeth at the show after she took fourth place with Drumcaughey Diamond.

At the Cavan RDS qualifier, David Egan took the runner-up place with Rebel Gealach and secured the first qualifying ticket. Isolde Jane Tivy also had one on the ground, but in a slower time for third place, ahead of Cian McMunn and ET Hop De Naelle.

No stranger to the RDS, Senan Reape booked his place with Churchfield Tulla Bluebell when finishing fifth. Amongst Senan’s accolades is taking the 128cm Championship in 2018 with the legendary pony Mickybo.

The last round at Ard Chuain proved very competitive and some very experienced combinations booked their place here. The first three slots in this line-up were filled by combinations already qualified. Those riders were James Derwin, Senan Reape and Conrad Sweeney.

Another combination to keep a close eye on is Jamie Clarke and Ballywire having secured their place. One pony well familiar with the RDS is Future Memories who will be under the command of Zara-Jane Kelly at Dublin next week.

Coen Williams (M) and Gilton Des Islots (6yo), winners of the 148cm six and seven-year-old RDS qualifier at Barnadown \ Laurence Dunne

148cm division

In the 148cm division, the newly-crowned European Champions James Derwin and Rincoola Babog won in the first round at The Meadows. This 11-year-old stallion is familiar with the competitive rounds in the RDS having made many appearances at Ballsbridge under the command of Francis Derwin. In 2019 they finished second in the championship. James was in good company as Kian Dore took second place after he put in a foot-perfect round with Sparkling Lackaghmore Joey. Dore also finished in second place in the 148cm six and seven-year- olds with Wineport Q Junior in Cavan.

Another combination to watch is Coen Williams and Saxton Freedam, European individual bronze medallists, who finished third in this qualifier. These three riders have plenty of experience under their belt as they head into the RDS and no doubt this will be a very exciting competition.

At the second round in Barnadown, this division was very hard fought as some very experienced combinations featured on the startlist. Leading the victory lap was Ulster’s Katie McEntee and the Miguel Bravo-owned Carrickaduff Pet. Annie Boland and Jimtown took the runner-up spot. Ben Walsh and Derryvane Belle took third place while Lauren Murphy (Corbeagh Legend) and Emily Moloney (Castlehill Titan) shared fourth place.

At Cavan, the 148cm division attracted a big following of 74 combinations. Successful was the experienced Aine Shorthall and Clinton Class. This combination just finished outside the qualifying places in the round at Barnadown. Zoe Keys took second place with Victory Day II ahead of Lily Tunney and Fireman and Eoin Brennan and GCS Daisy Lux who shared third place. Another experienced rider at the RDS, Jamie Clarke with My Gypsy Rose took fifth place.

Winner of the 138cm National Championships last year in the RDS, Iseult Fleming, will be making her return once again, this time in the 148cm with Hello Noble Lady after she took the first ticket at Ard Chuain.

No stranger to success this year and taking their place was Natasha Foley and Knockroe Little Clover. Another one to watch is Beth Thompson and Romabout who booked their ticket at the final round.

Age classes

In the opening 128cm six and seven-year-olds qualifier, Liam Concannon was victorious aboard the six-year-old Creevagh Pringles at Cavan.

In the 138cm six and seven-year-olds at The Meadows, victory went to Harry Rush and Zanzi Boy Van Sundance (7yo) ahead of Alayna Hawkins and Ballyduff Lad. Zara Jane Kelly booked another place after taking third with Sparkling Kiowa Moon.

Claiming the first ticket in the 148cm six and seven-year-olds was Aine Shortall who was riding the seven-year-old Bungi. After qualifying, the combination went on to clock up a series of results, which includes two wins in the Boomerang Starfinder.

Winner of the 128cm six and seven-year-olds at Cavan was Liam Concannon riding Denise Keegan’s six-year-old Creevagh Pringles.

At Barnadown, Cara Garrity and Goldie Locks booked their ticket in the 128s as did Mollie Russell (Sugar Dolly) and Sam Widger (Castlefield Messi). In the round at Cavan, the first qualifying ticket was secured by Cathal McKeon-Devaney and Teeling’s Lavender Lady.

A super performance from Kate Juley and Brookhall Elizabeth saw them take the first ticket at the final qualifier in Ard Chuain. Also qualifying in this round was Charlotte Foley and Ghost Rider Kerveyer.

In Barnadown, Tiernan Cummins impressed with Cill Na Mona Babe to take the win while at Cavan, Mia de Bromhead and Labanasigh Lexie secured the first ticket, ahead of Juliette McIntosh and Drumlin Rocky. In the final round, the first ticket was secured by the runner-up Connie McFadden and Rathduff Georgegena R.

Liam Concannon (U) and Creevagh Pringles (6yo), winners of the 128cm six and seven-year-old RDS Qualifier at Cavan \ Laurence Dunne Jumpinaction.net

148cm six and seven-year-olds

No stranger to pressure, Aine Shorthall and Bungi secured the first ticket at Barnadown. They were chased home by the equally experienced Anna White who was riding Tankardstown Dreamer.

At the second round of qualifiers in Barnadown in the 148cm six and seven-year-old class, the victory lap was led by Coen Williams and Gilton Des Islots.

Owned by Olga Doyle and Greg Broderick, this six-year-old stallion is by Diamant De Semilly out of Tabelle Des Islots. Taking the second ticket was Kian Dore and Milchem Original, ahead of the very experienced Emily Moloney and Lady Crown.

In the 148cm six and seven-year-old qualifiers at Cavan, experience was behind the riders who finished in the line-up and as a result the first two places were filled by qualified riders. Katie Nallon and Hans Own (6yo) claimed third place and with the first qualifying ticket of the round. One to watch in this round, having clocked up results in the Ulster region, is Ben Walsh and Roadside Coronation.