YOUNG rider Alex Finney collected an impressive win in Kernan’s last Sunday aboard the Belgian-bred L’Esprit Hero Z, taking first place in the 10th round of the TRM/Showjumpers Club 1.35m Spring Tour.

Normally ridden by Dermott Lennon, the 13-year-old gelding is owned by Eamon Bishop, is by Lexicon, out of Ikea Van’t Roosakker, by For Pleasure, and was bred by Gerry Marron and Luc Henry.

With Lennon in the saddle, the duo won many competitions, including the 1.60m Sweet Oak Farm Grand Prix at the Breeders Classic Show in 2020, as well as the 1.50m Premier Grand Prix in Mullingar and the 1.45m Cavan Grand Prix in 2022.

“I’m thrilled with the win. Dermott (Lennon) couldn’t jump him on Sunday, so he asked me if I could and I was delighted.

“Dermott trains me a bit, we live about 10 minutes apart, and I ride a few of his. I rode L’Esprit Hero before in Spain, while Dermott was in America, and we placed in a couple of 1.40m classes.

“Dermott has two horses out in the USA, so he is going back and forth a bit to them. I’m not really sure what will happen in the future. He’s a lovely horse to ride, scopey and forward. I am very lucky to get to ride him.

“He has jumped bigger tracks with Dermott, so he knows what he’s doing. I’m 19 years old, so it’s been a fantastic experience.

“I was last to go and the horse has a huge stride. We were quick over the second half of the track, I think we made up some time there. Because we were last to go, I knew I didn’t have to go crazy fast.

“I have exams the first week in May. I am studying Business and Economics in Trinity College in Dublin and I commute back and forth. I try to get up home to ride twice a week; it’s only an hour and a half away, so it’s not so bad. After May, I’m hoping to get into the internationals in Balmoral, but it’s very difficult to get in, so we’ll have to wait and see.

“I have two horses of my own, MHS Style (Kannan x Guidam) and Absolutely Kingmar Z (Aganix Du Seigneur x Radco D’Houtveld) for the Grand Prix classes, and I sometimes ride a very nice six-year-old for Dermott named CMG Winchester (Kannan x Lux Z).

“I think I’ll be going to The Meadows for the Balmoral qualifier next, but I’m not quite sure yet,” said Finney following her win.

Challenging decider

Eight of the 29 starters produced a clear first round to progress to the timed decider. First to go were last week’s winners in Cavan, Catherine Thornton and Derryinver Truffle (Tornesch x Cruising). They weren’t so fortunate on this occasion. A single fence on the ground in a time of 43.14 saw them relegated to seventh place.

Second to go, Cara McFadden and the Stephex Stables-bred eight-year-old Genitus Pommex Z (Good Boy x Cruising) also had one down, theirs coming in a slower time of 50.13.

Liam O’Meara and his own homebred nine-year-old stallion Sir Jim Jim (Boherdale Clover x Errigal Flight) produced the first double clear as third to go. They stopped the clock in 44.52 for fourth place in the final line-up.

Winners of the previous day’s 1.35m qualifier, Katie McEntee riding Samantha Dale’s Roundthorn Hercules (Colestus x Manhattan), bred by Patrica Connon, collected four faults in the fastest time of the day of 38.26, to finish in fifth place.

Cian Harrison and his own 13-year-old Belgian mare Destina Du Mesnil Z (Dobel van’t Zorgvliet x Casco) left all the poles in place in 41.37, to claim the runner-up spot.

Cian Harrison, runner-up in the Grand Prix at the Kernan's Equestrian leg of the TRM/SJC Spring Tour with Sinead Barnacle of TRM

Sven Hadley rode his own, Padraig Howley-bred mare, Uidam (Luidam x Cavalier Royale) into sixth place after one fence down in 40.49.

The penultimate pair in Liam O’Meara and his second mount, Helen Sheridan’s Big Dan du Rouet (Querlybet Hero x Harlequin Du Carel), bred by Michael Ryan, were double clear in 42.90 for third place.

Last to go, Finney and L’Esprit Hero Z left all the fences intact, breaking the finish beams in 40.98 for the win.

The next, and 11th round of the TRM/Showjumpers Club Spring Tour takes place tomorrow, March 31st in Mullingar.

1.25m two-phase

Sven Hadley and his own nine-year-old home-bred stallion HSH Harper Du Seigneur (Aganix Du Seigneur x Chippison) won the 1.25m two-phase on Sunday afternoon.

From a large field of 39 starters, just 11 returned a clear round over both phases. Hadley was the quickest of these, guiding his mount through the finish in a time of 38.83 to secure the top spot. McCleans Pacino Royale, owned by Sean Kelly and Kerry Taggart, was ridden by the latter into the runner-up spot in 39.00.

By Clem McMahon’s late stallion Pacino, the 11-year-old mare is out of Smirnoff Ice, by Cavalier Royale and was bred by Sean Nugent.

Hadley also claimed third place with his other mount, the seven-year-old gelding Make It Easy HSH (Don’t Touch It M x Landos) in 40.58.

Joshua Lynch and Keonan Stables’ Dutch-bred gelding Indy De Muze (I’m Special De Muze x Ekstein) finished in fourth just slightly slower in 40.67, while another seven-year-old, Royal Emerald QC, ridden by Annabel Shields was fifth.

Jessica Thompson and her own Stellor Skipon (Chillout x Carravilla Girl), bred by Fiona Sheridan, completed the line-up in sixth.

1.20m two-phase

First and second place in Saturday’s 1.20m two-phase went to Olivia Roulston riding her two seven-year-old mounts; Grace Cornyn’s Louieland (Cavalier Land x Luidam) and Aisling Doherty’s Sydney PMD (Quidam Junior x Cumano). Roulston stopped the clock at 27.87 for the win and broke the beams at 28.69 for the runner-up spot.

Ronald Morton and Mullabrack Sir Knight (Je T’Aime Flamenco x Hold Up Premier), owned by Zoe Harvey, were third in 29.95, while Dermott Lennon and his own and Gerry Marron’s Kinmar Right On Time (Aganix Di Seigneur x Kinmar Dancing Queen) took fourth.

Fifth place went to Megan McGettigan aboard Regula Wassmer’s Belmondo (KEC Maximum Joe x Voltaire) in 30.54, while sixth was Dylan Savage and Jessica Stallard’s Mon Bijou DHF (Calvaro Z x Eldorado Van De Zeshoek).