Vicky Cloney riding a 23-year-old horse won the Advanced Intermediate title from a field of 22 starters at the Connolly’s RED MILLS sponsored AIRC National Dressage Championships on Sunday.
The Cleariestown resident, who was second in 2019, produced two impressive tests to give her victory in the highly competitive class on 143.28%. Cloney was lying in third place after the opening test on 70.00% but the 23-year old gelding, Kachemire Le Beau, produced a second-round score of 73.28% to secure the title for the Wexford based club.
Cloney, who was over the moon with the win said, “our club was very lucky to secure the services of Kate Dwyer who was unable to take her place on the Olympic dressage team but her series of brilliant clinics for the club fired us all up.”
Unfortunately my regular ride on Anne Kirwan’s brilliant 18-year-old Tonic was sidelined a few months ago but I was very lucky to be allowed ride Helen Rowe’s great old warrior who came out of active retirement for this competition. These two horses are a great examples of the fun and success that can be had with beautifully trained and cared for veterans. Many thanks to Helen and Anne Kirwan my fantastic long term trainer.
At the championships, competitors rode two tests in front of different judges, with their scores accumulated, to determine the fate of the titles.
The Twinfort club in Limerick picked up two individual titles with the first coming in the Advanced Open where Tabitha Millar Hagerty enjoyed a narrow win on the 19-year-old gelding, Tullineaskey Hi Ho.
The Ballinspittle resident had done just enough to secure the honours on a total of 137.28% which gave her a slim advantage of 0.28% over second-placed Lorraine Kennedy on Major Furisto for Annaharvey.
In the Open championship, Owen Smyth reclaimed the title which he last won in 2016. Smyth, who was riding his 18-year-old gelding, Dark Site, was lying second after the first test but the Crecora resident pulled it out of the bag at his second attempt to narrowly win the spoils on 142.88%.
Hollybrook’s Margot Brama Labberte took home the blue ribbon on Kilpatrick Cruise who was just behind on 142.12%.
46 riders contested the Intermediate championship where two riders were tying after the opening round on 75.80% but Joanna Lewis pulled out in front after her second-round performance registered 74.62% to give her an overall total of 150.42% on her 9-year-old gelding, Ballybough Brightspark.
The Clonmel rider was thrilled with her win and her homebred said, “ in both his tests in the big atmosphere at such a great venue as Mullingar, to come home national champion with fantastic prizes was just brilliant.”
Laura Ryan (Coolboy Newtime) had to settle for second place after she added 72.69% to her opening tally of 75.80% to claim the runners-up spot for South West on 148.49%.
Thomastown and District took the top two places in the Advanced Primary Championship where Daniela Cardillo Corr registered one of the highest scores of the day with 78.33% in front of Danielle Carey on Flight of the Phoenix at her first attempt. The Cuffesgrange resident extended her winning margin after another high scoring second test to win the title on 153.33%.
Her clubmate Caroline Carey was lying in fourth after her opening test but a solid second performance from her 16-year-old gelding, Irish Drummer Boy, brought her up to second on 148.08%.
Cardillo Cor said afterwards, “I’m thrilled to win the championship as TJ is a very special horse, one of those ‘one in a lifetime types!’ I regretfully had to sell him in 2015, when I moved to the US for a few years but we were recently reunited, and it’s great to feel like we’ve come full circle now.”
Castle Hill rider Klara Ralph O’Connor won the Primary championship on Castleview Ozzie. The Dubliner had a significant advantage on her 19-year-old gelding after her opening test, where she had almost a 4% margin over her rivals but this was extended further after the second round as Ralph O’Connor finished on 150.34%. resident. Jacqui Deevy (Bubba Blue) was second on 143.05% which was an improvement for Corrib member who finished in fourth place in 2019.
Elsewhere in the non-championship classes, Tynagh’s Ita Walsh won the Advanced Intermediate section on her 12-year-old gelding, Mountkeeffe Sunshine while Niamh Macken claimed the spoils in the Intermediate section on Diamond King Henry for Copperfield. Border Counties Edel Cunningham won the Advanced Primary division on Rio while Amelia McFarland took home the Young Horse ribbon on Kingston Rua for Letterkenny.