Flexi eventing The Meadows

RACHAEL Broome enjoyed an excellent 2023 with her mother Pauline’s Natures Blossom and the combination struck for the first time this year when landing Saturday’s Novice dressage class at the fourth round of the Baileys Horse Feeds flexi-eventing series at The Meadows.

Last season, the pair won the Treo Eile thoroughbred eventing league and the Eventing Ireland Northern Region EI100 Junior league. Natures Blossom, a 2013 Fruits Of Love bay who was unplaced in three runs on the flat and two over hurdles in the summer of 2019 when trained by Tom McCourt, also won the Juniper Green & Kells trophy for the leading mare in the NR and the Down Royal Corporation of Horse Breeders Award for top NR eventing thoroughbred.

Rachael, who rounded off the 2022 campaign by being awarded a George Mernagh bursary, topped Yvette Truesdale’s leaderboard on Saturday on a score of 71.5% with the nearest of her nine rivals being the third round winner, Laura McKillan, riding Hayley Cunningham’s Embarcadero (69.3).

Truesdale also judged the five-runner Intermediate class where her winner was series regular Denis Currie and his Irish Sport Horse gelding, Arodstown Aramis (70%), an 18-year-old bay by Shannondale Sarco St Ghyvan. Narrowly beaten into second here was Alison Baird on board the nine-year-old OBOS Quality 004 mare, TMS Freya (69.6).

Variety being the spice of life, Truesdale also agreed to judge Section C of the Intro division where she awarded her top score of 68.5% to Ian McCluggage riding Amy Clarke’s Irish Draught gelding Shannaghmore Ring Master, an eight-year-old grey by Windgap Blue. Here, Stephanie Scroggie slotted into second with Julie Wallace’s 18-year-old Hello Oscar mare Hello Ginger (67.3) who has 68 Show Jumping Ireland points.

The winners recorded a double clear over Aaron McCusker’s 80cms show jumping track and were also clear over the 80cms cross-country course.


The 19 combinations who contested Section A were judged by Martina McKinley whose scores ranged between 69% and 60%.

Her winner was Anne Killen on the ID gelding Penanns Mourne Silver, a seven-year-old grey by Bellamont who has competed as a heavyweight hunter at the Dublin Horse Show. ‘Alf’ is considered a great all-rounder by his owner/rider who is aiming him at the new Grassroots classes being offered by Eventing Ireland for 2023.

Fellow Gilford Riding Club member, Oonagh MacOscar, finished second on her five-year-old Ard Grandpa gelding Russell (68).

Will McAuley assessed the 24 starters in Section B where the honours went to Wendy Anderson and the traditionally-bred Elusive Clover (72.3%) who were clear over the 90cms cross-country course. Purchased as a foal at Goresbridge, the winning five-year-old mare is by Elusive Emir out of Kilcahill Naomi, a daughter of Clover Brigade. The consistent pairing of Nicola Martin and her 2018 ID mare Dundrum Misty Blue finished second on 71.

McAuley and McKinley judged the Pre-Novice classes with the latter taking charge of Section A where she awarded her top score of 71.5% to Kaiti McCann riding her father Martin’s Boyher Cookies N Creme. This was a second successive success in the series for McCann and the 14-year-old skewbald mare who thus prevented Bethany Smith from doing likewise with the 18-year-old HHS BR Charlton gelding Ice King (70.8).

Winning debut

Emma Leathem, who was making her flexi-eventing debut, most impressed McAuley in Section B as she topped his scoreboard on 68.8% with the home-bred 17-year-old mare Drumcill Step To Harmony who, on her only EI start, placed sixth in an EI100 at Kircubbin in May 2017.

There was a divide for second on 68% between Maddybenny’s Tegan White McMorrow on another home-bred, Biden My Time (aka Wilson), a six-year-old Democrat gelding out of a half-sister to Portersize Just A Jiff (CCI4*), and Katie O’Reilly on Penny Johnston’s 14-year-old black gelding Black Arrow (aka Ace).

With four of the six qualifying rounds completed, Nikki Cullen tops the Baileys Horse Feeds flexi-eventing series leaderboard with Gemstone Ruby (37 points) ahead of Keeva McElhennon (Sundance III) and Zara Reid (Lola) who are on 35 points apiece.