Local riders make their mark in showjumping arenas

There was lively demand for proven and potential competition horses at Cavan Equestrian Centre last week, as was illustrated by a set of much improved returns. A total of 125 horses changed hands over the two day event, producing a good clearance rate of 66 percent - slightly up on the 60 percent rate in 2011 – and an average of €2,553, up from €2,316 for the same period last year.

Topping the figures at €7,600 was Aidan Killeen’s Kingstead Candy Man (65A) of Clonterm, Longford. A well produced five-year-old gelding by Lux Z (dam by Rising), Candy Man has been in the same ownership for two years and has been competing in 1.10m classes at training shows, and is considered an ideal prospect for the RDS qualifiers this year.

Although there were several show jumping buyers in Cavan, the hammer finally fell in favour of Oliver Glancy who sells the majority of his stock to event riders in England. “He’s a very nice model,” Glancy said, adding that there was room for improvement. “If I were to be critical, he could probably move better, however he does have a good temperament which is equally important.”

A familiar face during the Spring Pony Championships in Cavan was Edgeworthstown’s Rebecca Yorke. Leading the Starspotter League coming into the weekend’s jumping, Yorke took third place at Friday’s opening round and in Saturday’s equivalent. She steered the eight-year-old mare, ‘Buttons Two’ into third position in the Grand Prix. Aoife Dooley also triumphed during the 148cm Starspotter Champions League, clinching a respectable fourth place on Orange Sparrow, while Jordan Kilkenny stole the limelight when romping home in the Grand Prix with Paddy Bligh’s seven-year-old ‘Castle Hill King’. The Co Longford rider also neatly slotted into fourth position with veteran campaigner ‘Loughnatousa Bart’.

Meanwhile, prolific international showjumping winner, Lady Georgina Forbes’ mare ‘Libertina’, is being sent to stud. She will visit another from the Castle Forbes string – ‘Vivaldo van het Costerwald’ – in the coming weeks. Libertina’s last winning outing with Jessica Kurten was just over one year ago when she took the Belgian World Cup at Mechelen. She officially retired at Mullingar Show last June.

For over 50 years now, Sam Murphy has been one of the hardy perennials who has embraced the adventures of the Co Longford Harriers. In various re-incarnations he has served as chairman, field master, point-to-point steward, Carrigglass Manor Hunter Trials Organiser and resourceful fundraiser. Recently he donned mufti at the local Ardagh Hunt Meet to show what horsemanship looks like ‘au natural’. Mr Murphy, who is in his 85th year, rode his favourite hunter to show what nearly a century of equestrian acumen can deliver in the field.

At the Punchestown National Hunt Racing Festival which was held recently, equestrian presence was on the increase, compared to other years. On the race course, the equestrian world was well represented in the opening Ladies Cup with ‘Big Shu’ winning. Riding in the race was Capt Terrance White along with two brothers of international event rider Joseph Murphy.




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