The West’s awake as two titles won at the Connolly’s Red Mills Hunter Trials C’ships

Two clubs based in the West claimed two of the four championship titles on offer at the Connolly’s Red Mills National Hunter Trials Championships at Annaharvey Farm, Co. Offaly last Sunday.

Jo Corkery claimed the regions first win in the advanced primary championship while Letterkenny’s Shauna Boyle lifted the advanced intermediate championship title.

The championships were due to take place last April but were cancelled due to the poor weather at the time but news of it’s rescheduling to Annaharvey Farm last Sunday was warmly received by many members of the Association of Irish Riding Clubs.

The championships were run differently to other hunter trials, as it is based on optimum time rather than speeding against the clock. Competitors were given a

Competitors were given a 20-second window to complete the course but if they finished outside of this, they incurred a time penalty for every second.

Competitors were faced with up to 27 jumping efforts over Sam Deverell’s 19 fence track around the countryside with almost 70 riders took to the field in the advanced primary division where Jo Corkery had a narrow victory in the wet conditions.

The Kiltoom resident was one of twelve riders who completed the course with no penalties to add but Corkery timed to her round to perfection as the Ballinasloe member crossed the finish line bang on the optimum time of 5 mins 37 seconds on her 15-year-old ISH black gelding, Delphine Diamond.

Dalysgroves’ John Miland was one second quicker on Huntingfield Holly to take the blue ribbon ahead of Martha Buckley (Lady Rua) as the Clonshire rider was one second slower than the time on 5’37”.

Corkery was delighted with the win and said,

I had a great day in spite of the weather. The course was great and the venue is excellent. It was great to have the opportunity of competing after the disappointing cancellation last April.

Shauna Boyle also stopped the clock on the optimum time of 4’54” on board Jigalo (IRE) to claim the spoils in the advanced intermediate championship. The Letterkenny rider was one of seven riders who finished the cross-country with nothing to add while Louise O’Hara followed closely behind on Charisma of Annaghmore, who was just one second off the target for the Benbulben club.

Members of Letterkenny Riding Club (Pic: David Abbott)
Members of Letterkenny Riding Club (Pic: David Abbott)

Boyle said after her win, “The track was quite technical but flowed very well. I had a near mishap into the second water complex on landing but recovered quickly and pushed Jiggs on through the water and he popped out well. He jumped like a stag and I can’t wait until next year.”

Slieve Blooms Rachel Boyd overcame stiff opposition in the intermediate championship to claim the title out of a large field of almost 70 riders.

40 riders completed the course with no jumping penalties but this was reduced five when time penalties were taken into consideration. This left the clock to decide the placings and the Slieve Bloom rider was closest to the time of 5 minutes on the six-year-old ISH grey mare, Grey Dreamer who crossed the finish line just one second adrift.

The Birr resident had a two-second advantage over Daragh Callanan on Ruthstown Classic for Warrington in second.

Boyd said,

As it was my mares first day out this year, I definitely wasn’t expecting her jump as well so I was absolutely delighted to win.

“The course was a lovely running course that gave her loads of space to open up to make up the time, with a few challenging combinations for such an inexperienced horse, I was over the moon to even go clear but to win was a really great accomplishment for both of us,” she added.

The remaining championship title went to Adrian Hickey in the open and advanced open division where the Earl’s Well was one of just two riders to finish the test on zero penalties. Hickey’s time of 4’43” gave the Cork based rider the spoils on his 10-year-old black gelding, Ballinhassig.

Thomastown & District’s Jessica Ryan was slightly slower on Barrettstown Close Shave in a time of 4’47” to bring the blue ribbon back to Kilkenny.

Thomastown & District Riding Club’s Aine Nolan and Margaret Wallace (Pic: David Abbott)

Aine Nolan (Sock Monster) and Margaret Wallace

The Kilkenny-based club, however, retained the advanced primary pairs competition after Aine Nolan (Sock Monster) and Margaret Wallace (Monaveen Bill) finished just one second off the target on a zero score ahead of the Oakleaf duo of Aiden Maher (Radar Cillarran) and Geraldine Tynan (Fisherstown Archie).

Last years Intermediate champion, Leonard Reamsbottom (Lightening Spirit) from Oakleaf paired up with Coole Lanes Brian Carroll (Cathals Appachie) to win the intermediate pairs contest.

Time decided the spoils as four pairs returned with nothing to add but the winning duo crossed the line on the optimum time of 5’36” to claim the spoils ahead of Emma Lawrence (Benny Ace) and Lorcan O’Connor (Acrefield Romeo) from Benbulben.

In the other remaining mixed pairs division, Tara Hills Adam Lord (Tullymoor) and Tom Mullen (Blackrock) faired best of the four pairs who completed the course with nothing to add.

(Photos courtesy of Annaharvey Photos)

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