Ruth Dargan won the Intermediate Championship title at the Connolly’s RED MILLS sponsored AIRC National Show Jumping Championships after a 10-way jump-off last Sunday and in doing so she joined her father on the honours list after Peter won the title back in 2015.
Almost 60 riders contested the 90cms division where 10 went through to the jump-off after two rounds of jumping including Ruth’s sister, Aisling.
Less than one second divided the top three places in what was a keenly contested competition with Dargan taking victory on the 23-year-old, Sky Scarlet. The grey ISH mare crossed the line clear in a time of 39.32 to take the title for Kilrainy.
Avril Burke who previously won the title in 2018 had to settle for the runners-up spot on Rookery Luna, a 10-year-old grey mare. The Benbulben rider was just 0.25 seconds behind Dargan while Drynam’s Sophie Marks completed the podium on Solsboro Silver Pearl who was also clear in 39.92.
Dargan was over the moon with her win and said, “Sky is 23 now and nearly as old as myself but she’s in absolutely flying form. It was the first time that I’ve competed in the same competition as my sister Aisling so it was great that we both made it through to the jump-off.
My dad, Peter, actually won this back in 2015 on his mare Temple Cruise so it’s particularly special to now have my name on the same cup. It was wonderful to have the championship back running again this year
At the championships, riders had to jump two rounds over two different tracks with those equal on penalties for first place, jumping-off for the honours.
A dream came through for Leonard Reamsbottom last Sunday when the Coole Lane rider won the Advanced Intermediate championship after a 10-way jump-off.
The Fenagh resident took victory on his 14-year-old bay ISH mare, Lightening Spirit, who produced a stunning time of 27.29 with all fences intact. This gave the Coole Lane member an incredible winning margin of almost 12 seconds over his nearest rival Brendan Dolan on the six-year-old Roscrib Harry who was also clear in a time of 38.99 to bring the blue ribbon home to Sligo. Mosstown’s Aine McLoughlin (March Thunderball) took third with another clear in 40.58.
Reamsbottom who previously won the Advanced Intermediate show jumping at the AIRC Riding Clubs Festival in 2018 and also two hunter trials titles in 2015 and 2017 said afterwards, “my mare is one in a million and winning this championship was one of our proudest moments to date. My mare jumped two amazing clear rounds to qualify us for the jump-off and I knew we would have to be on top of our game in the jump-off as we had some serious competition. “
“Lightening Spirit lived up to her name, delivering a blistering quick and clear round to clinch the title and as they say dreams do come true,” he added.
Ria Shaughnessy claimed the Primary title after a five-way jump-off where the Mosstown rider stopped the clock, just 0.62 off the target of 58 seconds, with all fences standing on Castleforbes Valentine. Benbulben’s Joy Brett was next best with a clean sheet in a time of 61.05 to take the blue ribbon back to Sligo.
It was an emotional win for Shaughnessy who said after, “I had hip replacement surgery 18 months ago and at the time I was unsure if I would be able to ride again but thanks to the support of my club, I’m back in the saddle.”
“To win is something special and something I could never have imagined 18 months ago. Thank you to the organisers for a well-run show even with all the additional Covid-19 restrictions that had to be followed,” she added.
Time caught out many in the Advanced Primary championship where just 8 of the 37 starters managed a clear round over Pairic Geraghty’s opening track. This was whittled down further to just two riders who finished on a clean sheet after the second round where Margaret Corry (Quitano B) crossed the line just 0.29 seconds ahead of the optimum time of 54 seconds to claim the spoils for Burren.
Grainne Healy took a slightly slower pace around the shortened course to take home the runners-up ribbon for Kilrainy on Orlando of Araglen in a time of 56.14.
Lorraine Trenier finally landed her hands on a national title at the fifth time of asking on Castletara Trendsetter in the Open and Advanced Open division.
The Lakelands rider had previously finished in second place in 2016 and 2017 in the Advanced Intermediate but went one better last Sunday on her 11-year-old ISH bay mare after they were the only pair to finish on a clean sheet.
Tinahely’s Denise O’Brien took the blue ribbon after the Tinahely rider barely made it on time after her jeep caught fire on the way. Tommy B Good ended up with just two-time penalties in the opening round after the rider had no time to spare, to take part in the competition.
Abbeylands Peter Brady had two fences in hand going into the second round of the Young Horse but Hio Mr Unique, a 5-year-old piebald, returned with three poles on the floor in the second round.
This left an opening for Marie Helene Finnegan who capitalised on the situation to claim the spoils on Eponastables Laguan Prince after the Headfort rider had nothing to add to her opening round tally of 8.