BANGOR’s Courtney Akkari was rewarded for her trip down to the Leinster Region Show at the National Horse Sport Arena last Saturday, when she topped the scores in both non-restricted Preliminary classes on Bernabeo.

Akkari and the Hanoverian gelding scored 70% in the eight-runner DI18 judged by Maire Quinlan-Pluck (List 5) and 72.41 in the BD17A, where five starters appeared before Lindsey Ilona Brady. The Benicio chesnut, who is out of the Sir Donnerhall I mare Strawberry, was purchased from an online auction by the rider, her husband Chris Akkari and her mother, Adrienne Stuart.

“It was a massive risk buying Barney without seeing him or riding him, but this weekend has shown it is hopefully one that has paid off!” said Akkari. “He is only four and this was his very first show. So far, he seems to be a really lovely boy. When we bought him, the idea was that we would keep him for six months to a year and then sell him on. However, after such a lovely experience at this show, I would definitely be a little more hesitant about selling him! Fingers crossed he will make a really exciting horse for the future.”

A Preliminary double was also recorded in the Junior classes by Maura Moore-McCune, but this member of the Meath Branch of the Irish Pony Club struck on two different mounts.

In the Brady-judged DI18, where there were eight starters, she won on her mother Joey’s Crofs Clover (69.58%), an 18-year-old chesnut gelding, while her victory in the four-runner BD17A came on the Quinlan-Pluck-awarded score of 68.10 with Blokland’s Hoeve’s Amor, the 2005 chesnut gelding, who was previously campaigned here by Finn and Cillian Curran and, more recently, by Lily Larkin.

Another Meath Branch member, Grace Hanna, achieved the day’s highest score on Clerkson (73.10%) in the Junior Novice DI27A, where eight combinations came before Quinlan-Pluck. A 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Clerkenwell, Clerkson isn’t currently registered with DI, but he and his rider represented the IPC and Ireland in yesterday’s Horseware Ireland Pony Club home international dressage competition at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

There was a similar number of runners in the second Junior Novice class, the DI24A judged by Brady, where the honours went to Jamie Maughan riding the 17-year-old bay gelding Valley View Sammy (68%).

In the non-restricted classes at the same level, another Royal Windsor pairing, Lily Larkin and Emmet Kelly’s eight-year-old ISH Harlequin du Carel mare Pippas Harlequin Lady, achieved the highest score (70.52%) in the Quinlan-Pluck-judged DI27A, while Deirdre Byrne did so in the Brady-assessed DI24A on board on her black Oldenburg mare Fraulein Frizzi (67.17), a seven-year-old daughter of Furstenball.

In the three Trailblazers’ classes, the winners were Maeve McGinn riding Ruby (70.83% in the Under 10s), Olivia Linnane on Golden Dasher (70.60 in the Under 12s) and, the dead-heaters (on 68 in the Junior Preliminary), Ben Baker on Small Print and Georgia Kehoe with My Bonnie.