JILL Brown ensured that Drynam maintained its high profile in the Horse Sport Ireland showing section at last weekend’s Association of Irish Riding Clubs’ Festival, as she and A Heros Welcome made their way through a lengthy qualifying process to be crowned supreme champions.

The 21-year-old rider, who works at the Feltrim yard of Drynam secretary Laura Snow, was presented with the Carl Geisler Memorial Trophy at the end of a very pleasant Saturday, which began with her win in the mediumweight hunter class on Aisling Moffitt’s home-bred Irish Draught gelding. There they stood ahead of Tonabrockey’s Mark Field and his tall Irish Sport Horse mare Creganna Girl Next D’Or, a six-year-old daughter of Koro Doro.

Brown and A Heros Welcome then had to secure the Ring 3 title, where their rivals included the champion and reserve from the lightweight division, Cill Dara secretary Sara Wood and the five-year-old ISH gelding Lyra Solovey and Rathfarnham’s Kellie Adamson with Ark Supreme, a 13-year-old ISH gelding by VDL Arkansas. Going forward as the winner of the sole small hunter class was Springmount’s Jenny Jakeman riding her eight-year-old Irish Draught gelding Ox View Ali, a grey son of Harkawak Lionhawk, while finishing second here was Mosstown’s Anne Nixon on the Festival staple, Its Miller Time, a 16-year-old ISH gelding by Prince Of Thieves.

Castle Carraig’s Katie O’Dea progressed as the winner of the four-year-old class, with another Irish Draught, LLS Ladies View, a chesnut by Young Carrabawn. Mentioned earlier, Tonabrockey’s Field took a second route to the supreme by winning Section A of the mares’ class with Creganna Girl Next D’Or, but they had to give best in the mares’ championship to the Section B winners, Fingal’s Mary Hagan and her 18-year-old bay mare Sweetwell.

A Heros Welcome and Jill Brown, winners of the Carl Geisler memorial trophy at the AIRC Festival 2024 \ Aisling Deverell jumpinaction.net


When it came to deciding who they would send forward to the supreme as their Ring 3 champion, judges Amy Kinane, Jennifer Byrne and Lindsay Graham came down in favour of Brown and A Heros Welcome, with Anne Nixon standing reserve on Its Miller Time.

Brown, whose previous appearances at the Festival were on the Tolan R mare Darcystown Girl, has only been riding A Heros Welcome since April this year and keeps him on livery with John Carey of Baskin Sport Horses. They’ve had a few successes at local shows and won their 80cm performance horse class and were reserve champions at the Northern Ireland Festival in Cavan.

Thrilled with her success in the Ring 3 championship, Brown referred to herself as shocked when she and A Heros Welcome later won the Carl Geisler trophy, having been adjudged winners of the supreme championship, ahead of the Ring 2 champions, Tara Hill’s Maura Walsh and the eight-year-old piebald mare, DTS First Flight.

“It was a dream come true,” related Brown, who was supported at the Festival by her non-horsey parents, John and Florence Brown.

“His owner/breeder, who couldn’t get to Mullingar, was delighted to hear that we had won. I’m aiming him at the middleweight class at Dublin, but won’t do any performance there, as I am going to work on his jumping for a while.” A Heros Welcome, who is an eight-year-old grey gelding by Gortfree Hero, is out of the Cream Of Diamonds mare Tawney Lady.