THE Mervue Equine Leinster Summer Tour got off to a great start last weekend with Barnadown playing host to the opening round.

The 1.35m decider saw a total of 91 combinations battle it out for the €2,000 on offer. Claiming the win was Kilkenny rider, Seamus Hughes Kennedy and Echonix, when they lodged a double clear in a time of 33.80 in the two-phase class. Owned and bred by Brendan McSorley, the 10-year-old stallion is by Aganix Du Seigneur and is out of the Clover Echo-sired dam, Echo Peach. This combination has been in the ribbons of late, taking fifth place in the TRM Spring Tour in Tipperary.

It was a very competitive class, with 35 combinations delivering double clears. The top six finishers all crossed the line within the 40 second mark.

Runners-up in the Gain Alltech in Galway at the start of the month, Sven Hadley and Phenomene Bleu VDM returned to the line-up to take second place, when they were just over two seconds slower in a time of 35.89. Owned by Hadley Sport Horses, the nine-year-old stallion was bred by Famile Bruggeman and is by Diamant De Semilly and out of the Nabab De Reve-sired dam, Nuance Bleue VDM Z. This combination won the Gain Alltech National Grand Prix in Necarne in May 2023 and, before this, the round in Kernan’s Equestrian.

Susan Fitzpatrick followed closely behind with her mother Sharon’s eight-year-old, Keatingstown Mister Cool, clear in 36.18 for third place. Bred by Gestut Lewitz, the gelding is by Messenger and out of the Chacco Blue-sired dam, Chaccata’s Girl. This combination is no stranger to top level competition, having clocked up a series of good results in Vejer de la Frontera this year at 1.40m level. They also finished fourth in the eight-year-old class in the qualifier in Dublin Horse Show and 10th in the final last year.

A past winner in the Mervue Series, Francis Connors partnered RNH Valentino to a clear in a time of 37.78 for eventual fourth place. Owned by Raymond McChesney and bred by Normand Hammond, the nine-year-old gelding is by Van Gogh and out of the Beach Ball-sired dam, RNH Beach Ball.

A double clear from Junior European Team Gold Medallist and RDS Champion, Coen Williams and Elsandro Du Bois in a time of 38.91 saw them take fifth place. Owned by Williams Sport Horses, the 10-year-old stallion is by Sandro Boy out of the Diamant De Semilly-sired dam, Azalee Du Bois.

Fellow Junior European Gold Medallist, James Brennan also answered all the questions in a slower time of 39.31 aboard MHS Jersey Girl for sixth place. Owned and bred by Sinead Brennan, the 13-year-old mare is by Cardento and is out of the Quidam Junior 1-sired dam, MHS Prime Time.

Seamus Hughes Kennedy and Echonix, winners of the 1.35m class at the Mervue Leinster Tour at Barnadown \ Laurence Dunne


On Sunday, there was a good turnout for the 1.20m division, with 67 going to post. Leading the victory lap was amateur rider Aileen McDermott and Amber Balou, when they lodged a double clear in 33.56. Deirdre Doyle was less than a second behind with the eight-year-old Kancruise in a time of 34.48 for second. A split second separated the next placing, as Brendan Murphy and PNP Rocco delivered a clear in 34.90 for third. Local rider Annie Boland accounted for eventual fourth when she maintained a clean sheet aboard The Hurricane in a time of 38.55. Slotting into fifth place was Hannah Connors Smyth and Ad Fundum D’Ersr Z, when they crossed the line, clear in 38.73. Completing the top six was Hannah Fleming and Ritter, when clear in 40.65.


It was a great weekend for Aileen McDermott, as she also claimed the win in the 1.10m division. Riding the ever-reliable Amber Balou, she delivered the winning round of clear in 27.07. Junior rider Cian Byrne followed closely behind with Ciao Bella, delivering a clear in 28.13 for second. Amateur rider Ciara Kelly (AA) and Annestown Clover Concorde slotted into third place, when they kept all the poles in place in 28.68. Fellow amateur rider Lisa Doyle (AA) and Corland’s Clipper took fourth place when clear in 28.71, while in fifth was Tracy Nolan and Ballinaguilkey Heritage, who was clear in 29.55. Patrick Joyce put in a gallant attempt with Congress Flush, answering all the questions in a time of 31.50 for sixth place.