THE 2024 combined training league run by the Western Region of Eventing Ireland at the Milchem Equestrian Centre of chairman Ralph Conroy concluded last Sunday, when the results at this final leg proved very influential.

This was especially so at EI110 level, where Godfrey Gibbons on DS Conn Boy and Becky Scott on her own Irish Sport Horse mare Athea Clover Dew, a 10-year-old Sibon W bay, both completed the league on 12 points apiece. However, the former claimed the honours with the better placing on Sunday.

“I’m really fond of this horse – he’s a real nice sort,” said Gibbons of Liam Lynskey’s ISH gelding who was bred in Knockmore, Co Mayo, by Michael Barrett. The bay is by the Holstein stallion DS Are You With Me, who stands at Lynskey’s Derryronane Stud near Swinford, out of Portroe Girl (by Silvano) who, in turn, was out of the traditionally-bred The Masters Girl (by Master Imp).

Gibbons competed the now seven-year-old DS Conn Boy six times under EI rules last season before concluding their campaign with a fifth place finish in the 25-runner Michael Leonard CCI1*-Intro for five and six-year-olds at Ballindenisk in September. The combination finished reserve champion in the Junior/Young Rider event horse class at the RDS in August.

DS Are You With Me, who had two representatives in the four-year-old young event horse at Dublin, including the third-placed DS Are You Tom, currently has 119 Showjumping Ireland points to his credit. Mare owners will have a chance to see the son of Corrado I in action over coloured poles this season again under Matt Gordon.


“Conn Boy is a bit behind in his qualifications, so is going to be busy chasing them this season,” said Gibbons of the bay, who is one of four horses he will be competing for Lynskey in the Western Region’s starter series, which commences tomorrow. “The plan, at the moment, is to do the 2*-S at Ballindenisk, the 2*-L at Millstreet and the 2*-S at Kilguilkey in July. The aim is, of course, to qualify and be selected for Le Lion d’Angers in October.”

Gibbons missed competing in round three of the league, as he was among a group of Galway Community College equine studies students, who paid a 10-day visit to Belgium. “We’re usually in college three days a week, then visit yards around the country on another day. When I get back to Ballinasloe each evening, I have to do the yard at home where we have hunters as well as performance horses.”

Old reliable

Milchem-based Scott had earlier partnered RDM Ring Of Mercury to land the EI100 league on 13 points, ahead of Leagh Daniels riding the ISH gelding Blackmoor Crest (11). Although he is now 22 years of age, the traditionally-bred Blackmoor Crest, a grey son of Sea Crest, is not the oldest horse at the Daniels family’s Callatra Stables, but is the liveliest of the old ones according to the rider’s father, Gerry.

“Fair play to Leagh,” said Daniels senior. “She is not working full-time with horses, so only gets to ride when her work schedule allows.

“She is studying Business and Law at Galway University, but is currently on a year’s placement with Keane Solicitors in the city. We have a couple of five-year-olds here for the starter series, but they may not be ready just yet.”

RDM Ring Of Mercury will definitely compete in the five-year-old class during the starter series, bidding to double up having won the four-year-old division last season.

Scott revealed: “He will have a short break after that and then event over the summer. Duncan (McFadyen) and I will also compete our four-year-old Road To Happiness gelding RDM Ring of Happiness in the starter series and perhaps a few for Ralph (Conroy) as well.”

Bred in Co Longford by Michael Kelly, RDM Ring of Mercury is by Calvaro van de Rechi out of the Callanagh Gold mare Gold Goose. Scott campaigned the bay twice under EI rules last season, winning an EI90 on their second start at Crecora 2.

EI90 league

Fourteen-year-old Oisin McDonagh had a point in hand at the conclusion of the EI90 league, which he won on his father Martin’s Full Moon Magic (14 points). Jane Field, who led going into Sunday’s decider, had to settle for second with her mother Marjorie Hardiman’s Connemara gelding Clonmoylan Red Hugh (13), a 15-year-old grey son of True Commotion.

Full Moon Magic, who has 50 SJI points, is a bay gelding by the Connemara stallion Bog Mac Bobby. McDonagh and the seven-year-old finished fifth or better in five EI90 (P) starts last season, winning a four-runner class at Rosanna 2 in mid-June. While the rider will have plenty of ponies to compete in the region’s starter series, Full Moon Magic will definitely compete on the EI circuit.

Well supported

The best supported class during this combined training league was the EI80, which had to be divided on each occasion. Here there was another close result, with the honours going to Tynagh’s Kate Noone, who is in First Year studying Business at the University of Limerick, and her six-year-old mare K Autumn Pride.

A well-known amateur photographer on the western circuit, Noone topped the league on 13 points. Both McDonagh, riding Milchem Twilight, and Rebecca McGrath with Tickerlevan Sun Rose finished on 12 points, but it was McDonagh and Ralph Conroy’s five-year-old bay mare who were placed second, thanks to their better result on Sunday.

Having had to re-schedule one leg of this combined training league because of weather issues, which pushed the final back a week, the committee members of the Western Region now find themselves with no weekend off, as their Bert’s Properties eventing starter series starts tomorrow at the Clare Equestrian Centre.