FRANCIS Derwin Jnr is certainly proving to be a force to be reckoned with since returning from his stint in Florida with Darragh Kenny at the beginning of the year, as he landed another win in the Gain/Alltech National Grand Prix last Saturday at Barnadown Showjumping in Co Wexford.

Riding AHG Whiterock Cruise Down, the 17-year-old from Athlone was one of only four double clears in the €4,000 Cooley Farm-sponsored class in a time of 36.94 seconds. This was the second consecutive victory for Derwin, having claimed the honours in Galway the previous Monday with Killerisk Can Ya.

The win, along with a sixth place finish at Portmore, places the combination third on the leader board with 14 points, one point behind his other charge Killerisk Can Ya on 15, while Susan Fitzpatrick holds the lead with Keatingstown Skorphults Joker on 18 points.

Owned by the rider’s father, Francis Derwin, AHG Whiterock Cruise Down has no shortage of experience with a host of wins under his belt, among them the individual gold medal at the 2019 Junior European Championships with Francis’ sister, Kate.

The gelding is by Cruisings Micky Finn out of Whiterock Touch (Touchdown). Under Francis’ command their results in 2021 include a win in the Autumn Grand Prix in Mullingar, the Hughes Horse Stud Grand Prix and the same Grand Prix at Barnadown last May.

Big field

Riders were out in force last weekend, with 86 combinations taking on the John Doyle-designed course. Of those, 17 delivered clears first time out and booked their place against the clock.

Kildare’s Mikey Pender opted to play it safe with HHS Fortune and it paid dividends as he delivered a clear in 40.05, which would later see him take the runner-up spot. Home-bred by Marion Hughes, the 11-year-old mare is by Catoki out of HHS Daisy (Ard VDL Douglas).

Carlow young rider Jason Foley posted an impressive round with Ronan Rothwell’s nine-year-old mare D’Amour du Nenuphar (Vagabond de la Pomme x Diamant de Semilly) in a time of 40.23 for third place. The mare won the RDS National Champion for seven/eight-year-olds in 2021.

Johanna Sixt took no crazy chances with the nine-year-old gelding Incredible (Zavall VDL x Montreux) and, as a result, delivered the last double clear in a time of 43.56. Owned by Cathal Mc Munn and Jonathan Reape, Incredible also claimed sixth place in the 1.35m Mervue Equine Leinster Summer Tour the previous day.

International performers

Edward Doyle didn’t hang about with the Lisa Cawley-owned Flexability, but four faults in a time of 43.23 saw them slot into fifth place. Bred by Lisa’s father, Dr Noel Cawley, Flexability is an 11-year-old gelding by Flexible out of Diamond Ballerina (Diamond Lad). Flexibility is a half-brother to past international performers Rincarina and Solerina, both by Cruising.

Charlotte Jacobs was a fraction of a second slower than Doyle with her own 10-year-old gelding Coolivio PS, crossing the line with four faults in a time of 43.30 for sixth place.