THE McGahern family hosted the fourth and final qualifying leg of this year’s Young Eventhorse Series (YES!) on Tuesday at Rincoola, where the usual attention to detail was paid by series organiser Angela McGahern, despite the incapacity of a broken foot.

Competition was still fierce for the final qualifying tickets for the young event horse classes at next month’s Dublin Horse Show, but others were out to secure points, and more prize money, in the YES! league. One such partnership was owner/breeder Bridget Speirs and rider Diarmuid Ryan, who won Section A of Tuesday’s four-year-old class with the Irish Sport Horse gelding BT Just Special (272.7) and this third win in the series saw them top the four-year-old league.

The two qualifying tickets on offer went to the Andrew Williams-owned, John Tilley-ridden ISH gelding Borris Cornet Coole (271.8), a bay son of Castlefield Cornet, who was bred in Co Carlow by Joe and Jerry Skelton out of the Warrenstown You 2 mare Miss Too Coole, dam previously of the Cobra mare MGH Jessica (CCI3*-S). Rider Robbie Kearns followed up his excellent result in the CCI1*-Intro at Kilguilkey House on some of Richard Ames’ young horses by qualifying in third with another inmate of Ames’ Co Kilkenny nursery, the ISH gelding Belline Dignified Diplomat (268).

Keonan Stables’ already-qualified home-bred Bellavalent, a Valent full-sister to Cooley Rosalent (CCI5*-L), Jewelent (CCI4*-L) and Govalent (CCI4*-S), amassed 273.5 points to win Section B in the hands of Rachael Thompson.

John Bannon, who has an excellent record in Dublin with his three-year-old event horses and will be bidding to further extend this next month, qualified in second with his Francis Tubman-bred Derena Live Wire (269.8), an ISH gelding by Vivant van de Heffinck. As the Ciara Kinsella-owned, ridden and bred Tykillen Shindig (268.8) was already qualified, Charlie Boardman snagged the second ticket on board Richard Ames’ ISH gelding Belline Kasparov (266.6), a bay son of Quality Time.

There was a third qualifying ticket on offer there and that went to the fifth-placed ISH gelding I’m So Dignified (265.8), who was ridden by John Tilley for his and partner Andrew Williams’ Kilkenny International.


Ames’ Belline string picked up another ticket in Section A of the five-year-old class with the Kearns-ridden ISH gelding Belline Kilbunny Harmony (299.6).

This Herald 3 grey, who also qualified for Dublin last season, finished third behind Jennifer Smith’s previously-qualified winner You Neek, an ISH gelding by Diamond Roller, who notched up an impressive 310.8 points under Steven Smith.

Between this pair, Co Limerick’s Dominic Furnell qualified in second with Tom Jones’ traditionally bred ISH mare Cruising Alone (299.9), who is by Spirit House out of the Cruising mare Amazon Cruise.

Co Wexford’s Ciara O’Connor qualified for the five-year-old final at Dublin when topping the scores in Section B with her aunt Sharon O’Connor’s home-bred Ashwood Rio (301.2 points).

O’Connor and this Dignified van’t Zorgvliet gelding, who is out of the Ramiro B mare Pikeur, won the five-year-old Dubarry Burghley young event horse qualifier at Millstreet. Also on Tuesday, the O’Connors combined to win Section A of the Junior/Young Riders’ event horse qualifier with Rio’s seven-year-old Iron Man de Padenborre half-sister, Ashwood Iron Lady.

Dublin regular Tim MacDonagh slotted into second in the five-year-old class with Hollypark Horses’ previously-qualified CSF Hollypark Rocco Blue (299.9), while Alyssa O’Neill qualified in third with Liam Lynskey’s home-bred ISH gelding DS Are You Tom (296.8).

The judges for this final qualifier were Britain’s Nicola Wilson and Kirsty Chabert (ridden display), Co Meath racehorse trainer Adrian Murray (presentation) and Sally Corscadden (jump).

Chabert commented: “Today we saw a large variety of quality horses in all different shapes and sizes and a fantastic demonstration of good training to educate the young horses.”

Wilson added: “I thought the standard of the show was fantastic and there was a huge variety of horses who could do many, many jobs. I was really impressed by the quality of the horses and also how well they have been produced.

“They had a difficult dressage to do and the jumping looked as if there was all sorts to challenge them, but also to encourage them and educate them for the future. It was a great show and a great concept.”