AMATEUR riders were out in force last Saturday, as they travelled to Tipperary Equestrian in an early bid to secure their place for the Dublin Horse Show. Each year, these classes have become more and more competitive and, with eight places up in each round, no doubt each of the four qualifiers will go down to the wire. In the opening round, 131 went to post and 26 progressed into the jump-off, where 11 triple clears were delivered. The top eight riders came home within 35 seconds, demonstrating just how competitive the class was.

Claiming the first ticket was AA rider Kyle McLaughlin aboard his own Fernanda 22, when he galloped across the line in a time of 30.28. This 11-year-old mare is by Flipper D’Ellle and is out of the Con Air-sired dam What Else. McLaughlin took over the ride on the mare earlier in the year, having been campaigned by Alexandra Hourigan up to 1.35m level. Kyle, who is from Donegal, is based in Naas and is trained by Ethen Ahearne. It will no doubt be a busy time for him, as he has qualified his other horse Cantara 115 for the Balmoral Amateur Championships.

Speaking after the win, he said: “I am delighted as it was a competitive class and I went in the middle of the jump-off, so it’s hard to judge. Last year, I missed out on a place by playing it safe and I wasn’t going to make that mistake again. I will try and get a few grass shows in before Dublin and also concentrate on Balmoral. I would like to thank my wife Kyra and Ethen for all their help.”

There was only half a second before the next finisher, as Dublin rider Laura Clinton (A) and Furore 5 came home in a time of 30.79. This will be the combination’s first time at the Dublin Horse Show but the combination have demonstrated results at this level over the last year.

AA rider Roisin Donnelly and Ballinamurra Eargon put in a gallant attempt and stopped the clock in a time of 31.06 for third place. This pairing has demonstrated good form at this level. In the Cavan Indoor Championships last year, they claimed sixth in the 1.10m final. Last year, they also qualified for the Dublin Horse Show.

Slotting into fourth place was AA rider Caroline Gaston and the seven-year-old Miss Roman Kora, when she clocked 32.25. This combination took sixth place in the Amateur Grand Prix in the Cavan Amateur Championships in September.

Placed fourth in the Amateur Balmoral Qualifier at Balmoral last month, Caitlin Jolly (A) and Dalens Dream secured fifth place with a clear in 32.46.

Fellow (A) rider Liam Hennessy and Leanorth Grey Matter took sixth, when they clocked 32.69. No stranger to the RDS, Aileen McDermott [AA] and Amber Balou booked their place, when they came home in 33.13 for seventh, ahead of Edel Kelly and Agustina in a time of 34.43.