Caroline O’Neill achieved the highest score in the individual championship classes at the Connolly’s Red Mills National Dressage Championships to win the Advanced Primary title last Sunday.
The Dungarvan resident riding her 8-year-old skewbald mare, Miss Double Dutch, produced two impressive performances to register 74.40% and 75.00% to claim the championship title among a field of 21 starters.
As in previous years, each competitor had to perform two tests, in front of different judges, to determine the fate of the national titles.
Eilis Von Cramon won the Advanced Open title after the Ross House rider registered 67.32% on Glenoaks Ash. The Ballinagh resident, who finished in second place last year, edged ahead of Ian Grace (Brocknas Orb) on 66.05% for Carne in Wexford.
In the primary championship, Darren Rossiter claimed the spoils after two notable tests on Coeur Vaillant. The Carne rider scored 69.50% in front of Anne Kirwan on Pam O’ Reilly’s 20-year-old ISH bay mare. His afternoon test of 68.56 ensured the win for the Castlebridge resident.
Rossiter’s total of 68.56% could not be caught as Ashbrook’s Niamh Campbell finished closest on 66.60% on Boots for Ashbrook.
Less than one percent separated the top two riders in the advanced intermediate division where 21 riders took to the arena.
Caroline McQuillan was lying in second place after the morning session but the Border Counties rider produced an impressive afternoon test to claim the spoils on Leonie Irwin’s 6-year-old chestnut ID, Edeagor Kate. Her score of 71.87% gave her a narrow win over second placed Lorraine Kennedy (Major Furisto) for Annaharvey.
25 riders contested the intermediate championship where Jo O’ Callaghan led after the morning session on B.B.B. Paddywack Finn. The Glengarriff member maintained the pressure in the afternoon with another impressive test before Ivor Harper to score an average of 71.99% over the two tests to secure the title for the Cork based club.
Helen Clarke, who won last years Advanced Primary title, narrowly missed out on winning the Intermediate title after Gentleman James registered a score of 71.81% to finish behind O’Callaghan.
In the open championship, Michael Moore finally claimed the honours on Clare Fitzsimons Smart Decision after taking the runners up slot for the past two years. The Ashbrook rider was the only rider to finish on a score on 71.94% – the only rider to finish above 70% – to claim the spoils on the 16-year-old ISH chestnut gelding. Deirdre Kane ended up in second place on Mighty Clever who registered 68.33% for Greenhills.
Elsewhere in the non-championship classes, Tara Hill’s Janet Cooke topped the advanced primary non-qualification class on Louis Two Tone while Emma Walsh claimed the spoils in the intermediate division on Inis Blossom for Kilrainy. Friary’s Jackie Dow won the remaining advanced intermediate division on Juno Tintreach.
(Images: Sagittarian Photography)