LUKE Corcoran recorded a treble last Sunday at the Claremorris Equestrian Centre, where the Western Region of Eventing Ireland held the fifth and final qualifying round of its 2024 Berts Properties starter series.

As with most competitions at their family’s Co Mayo venue, course building was undertaken by Charles Hanley, whose wife Sinead was jumping judge. The dressage phase was assessed by Meryl Connaughton of Connaught Sport Horses, who provided competitors with plenty of feedback and was very complimentary about the standard of horse.

There may not have been as many compliments from riders regarding the water jump, which caught out a lot of combinations during the day.

It was bitterly cold, but not for the red-hot Corcoran, whose first win came in the Milchem Equestrian class for five and six-year-old ponies, where he completed on his dressage score (53 points) with his own Connemara mare Vermount Ballygill Silver Shadow.

A fence down proved costly for the previous weekend’s winners, Oisin McDonagh and the five-year-old Connemara gelding Esker Tallyho Oliver (52). Completing on the same score, her flatwork mark, to finish third was Michelle Geraghty with another 2019 Connemara gelding, Rathkeery Melvin. Two of the seven starters were eliminated.

Vermount Ballygill Silver Shadow, a five-year-old grey by Silver Shadow, was bred by Brendan Glynn out of the Sweetwall Captain Courageous mare Ballygill Kiss. She was purchased by her present owner at the mart in Drumshambo last summer.

“She was untouched at the time,” commented Corcoran. “I broke her, did a few training shows and took her cross-country schooling before giving her a break for the winter. She came back into work after Milchem for the last two legs of the league.

“I think this class is a great way to educate a young pony and introduce them to different elements without asking too much too soon. This summer, 10-year-old Josh Rogan from Enniscrone in Co Sligo will take the reins. Josh is trained by his mother, Andrina, and his uncle Dean. He is a top-class rider and I’m looking forward to seeing him compete with Shadow this year.”


The Crossmolina show jumper doubled up in the Derryronane Stud five-year-old class, where he completed on his winning dressage score with his father Pauric’s Irish Sport Horse gelding RRS Monty (58.5). Also finishing on their first phase scores to place second and third were Tommy Considine with his ISH gelding Dermish Tommie (55.5), a bay by Dermish Chill, and Tim Macdonagh with Hollypark Zirocco (55).

“My father bought Monty privately last year,” said Corcoran. “He produced the horse carefully, competing successfully up to 1.10m at the end of 2023. Monty is just back in work now and we hope to do some more age classes throughout the year with him.”

RRS Monty, who has 10 Showjumping Ireland points to his credit, is a bay son of Lagans OBOS Quality. He was bred in Co Clare by Aiden Moloney out of the Tolan R mare Merlins Duchess, who comes from the family of Merlins Victoire (CSIO4*).

Six and seven-year-olds

The Corcoran treble came up in the Drumhowan Stud and Coolballyshan Stud six and seven-year-old qualifier, where there was a second win in two weeks for the Danish-bred RV Pulpit Rock. The Silvaner DC gelding was on a very impressive mark of 62 points after dressage, but picked up four jumping faults for a completion score of 58.

As at the Galway Equestrian Centre, Aoife McCabe had to settle for second, on her first phase score, with KMS Ali (55.5), ahead of Matt Gordon, whose total of 52.5 on DS Shotgun included four jumping penalties.

McCabe’s efforts in turning herself and her six-year-old Tyson mare out to perfection earned the owner/rider the day’s Sea Warrior Sea Supplements best turned-out award.

Corcoran has six horses qualified for the final of the Berts Properties starter series, which takes place on Easter Monday next at the Milchem Equestrian Centre of the EI Western Region chairman, Ralph Conroy. However, they may have a run before then, as the Corcoran family are staging a leg of their spring league at Riverview Equestrian today.