Marie Feeney had a successful outing at the Connolly’s Red Mills National Show Jumping Championships last Sunday where the Corrib rider won the Primary Championship.
Feeney, who is only back in the saddle after a long gap, jumped one of three double clear rounds in the final to claim the title as the Claregalway resident was closest to the optimum time on her 18-year-old grey gelding, The Peace Maker.
Her time of 39.53 was enough to claim the title ahead of Maria Becker (Curraghgraigue Boy) who crossed the line on 50.58 for Burren. Feeney had earlier finished in fourth in the morning qualifier which was won by Deerpark’s Brenda O’Donoghue on Castleoliver Tyson.
Feeney said afterwards, “I am so happy to win the Primary Championship today as I’m just back jumping for the past six months after I broke my leg two years ago. I lost my confidence completely and Ted (The Peace Maker) has helped me to get it back.”
The Ballinalee resident was among six riders who made it through to the jump-off in the final where O’Donnell jumped one of two clear rounds. Her time of 50.90 secured the title ahead of Vicky Collins (Fabienne) for Three Counties in second place on 50.04. Last years champion, Benbulben’s Katherine O’Brien completed the podium on Oscar in third place while her clubmate, Therese Anderson, who won the qualifier earlier in the day, finished outside the top six.
O’Donnell said, “I’ve entered year after year and more often than not, I’ve fallen off or made a total mess of it through nerves. We’ve worked hard on our confidence in the ring and I’m so proud and thankful to be a member of Mosstown whose encouragement pushed me through the nerves and into the ring.”
Brian Cassidy had better luck this year as the Killossery rider went on to win the Open and Advanced Open title, after finishing in second place last year.
The Killossery rider jumped one of five clear rounds in an eight-way jump-off in the final but Cassidy was one second quicker around the reduced track. His winning time of 38.25 kept Coolbell’s Denise Hanrahan at bay on Comeragh Cruiser who stopped the clock on 39.25.
Laura Carrick who won the morning qualifier didn’t feature in the final line up after My Foxy Lass lowered a pole in the final.
Cassidy was delighted with the win and said afterwards, “Despite the long day Lucy (Looks Easy) jumped out of her skin and the gallop from 9 to 10, I think is what clinched it for us – she really opened up and in the last 3 strides came back so we could make the turn after no 10 to get back to the last. We had a huge long shot at the angle on the last, but at that stage, she wanted to go so was always going to take it for me. As the judge said – she really did make it Look Easy!”
Just six riders made it through to the jump-off in the Advanced Intermediate championship final where just two riders went on to jump clear rounds.
Jacqui Boland, who was a runner-up in 2015, was in pole position after the Killossery rider won the qualifier earlier in the day. Bernadette Flaherty had set a target to beat of 39.81 after Thomascourt Hula left all fences standing.
Boland had her sights set on the title and duly delivered on this occasion after her 12-year-old skewbald gelding speed around the course in a time of 35.22 to claim the spoils and the second national title for the Killossery club.
The intermediate championship attracted a large entry of almost 70 riders where Avril Burke dominated proceedings.
Burke won the title after a thrilling ten-way jump-off in the final where the Benbulben rider was last to jump against the clock and shaved almost two seconds off Devils Bit rider Conor Quinlan who set a time of 38.63 on Killea Treacle.
The Benbulben riders time of 36.77 ensured that the title headed West to Sligo with Quinlan having to settle for the blue ribbon. It was the perfect finish for Burke who had also won the qualifier earlier in the day.
Elsewhere, Rebekah Tansey won the newly introduced Young Horse competition after a three-way jump-off in the final. Tansey on her new horse, Riverfield Pacino, jumped the only clear in the jump-off to claim the spoils ahead of Cassandra Mc Gee on Well Done Welby who had won the qualifier earlier in the day.