It was the second busiest day on record for the Baileys Horse Feeds Flexi Eventing with almost 300 entries taken in dressage, show jumping and cross country.
While large parts of the Province were dealing with heavy rain and high winds, the Meadows Equestrian Centre was bathed in bright spring sunshine for most of the day.
Alex Houston made her early morning trip from Portrush worthwhile when she won the Intermediate class, judged by Vanda Robinson, with Skyfall Echo, her eight year old bay mare by Clover Echo which was bred by Ross Crawford. Charlotte Dixon on Zermie and Claire Sedgeman on Archie, both previous winners of the class shared a percentage mark of 66.9 with Charlotte taking second spot on higher collectives. Lucca Stubington who is preparing to return to Chris Bartle’s yard in Yorkshire also had a good day at ‘the office’ by claiming fourth and fifth places with Oliver and Nibbs respectively. Jayne Doherty took the purple rosette.
The biggest class of the day was the Novice with 34 entries. Sophie Buller riding Toby McAlpine’s Cyrano gelding, Rum Jumbie, shared points with Izzy Riley on Ballycarron Lad, a fourteen year old bay gelding, previously campaigned by Clare Abbott. However, Sophie gained a margin on collective marks to claim top position. Leah Jackson who has been performing very consistently in this League came third on Gemilly, followed by Alex Houston on Shylo and last week’s winner, Kathryn Graham on Heather Graham’s Flutter Bye in fifth position. Caroline McQuillan, also showing very consistent form, took sixth place.
Ella Boyle, who credits her amazing form at the moment to the efforts of Terry Boon, once again rose to the top of the Pre Novice leaderboard with Tigger, a six year old gelding by Hermes de Reve. The Riley household once again featured prominently with fifteen year old Katie taking second spot on Versace Biscuit.
Justine Harding took third place on Charissma, a six year old mare bought last September as a ‘project’ for Justine which seems to be progressing exceptionally well. Caroline McQuillan and Mr Brown picked up their second placing of the day - a fourth with Lynne Spence and Jaydious Apollo following behind.
Friendly sibling rivalry was in existence in the Intro class where Amy Whittle has been very prominent in the course of the League with her very striking four year old gelding by Gatcombe. However, she had to settle for the runner up spot this week as her sister Amy rose to the top with Valentino, a six year old gelding owned by Lyndsey Wallace and sired by Lux Z. Amazingly, this very talented horse is currently for sale.
Catherine Robinson claimed third place on Bob, a four year old mare by Financial Reward out of a Colin Diamond mare which Carsonstown Sport Horses have high hopes for in the coming season. Rachel Ferres and Arnold, who have seldom been out of the top placings, claimed fourth spot while joint fifth place went to Nicky Nesbitt on Brave Difference and Laura Sloan with Cornascriebe Quida.
The showjumping was very busy for almost eight hours with an extremely high standard throughout all classes. Aaron McCusker, course designer, introduced a number of more technical questions this week, including water trays and walls - all excellent preparation for the forthcoming season of both eventing and showjumping.
The Baileys Horse Feeds Flexi Eventing continues for another two weeks with the final taking place on March 5 when the £1,000 prize fund will be distributed. The League Table results to date are posted on the MEC website.
Arena 1 – Intermediate - Judge Vanda Robinson: Alex Houston, Echo; Charlotte Dixon, Zermie; Claire Sedgeman, Archie; Lucca Stubington, Oliver; Lucca Stubington, Nibbs; Jayne Doherty, Rupert.
Arena 1- Novice – Judge Vanda Robinson: Sophie Buller, Rum Jumbie; Izzy Riley, Ballycarron Lad; Leah Jackson, Gemilly; Alex Houston, Shylo; Kathryn Graham, Flutter Bye; Caroline McQuillan, Mr Brown.
Arena 2 – Pre Novice – Judge Joanne Jarden: Ella Boyle, Tigger; Katie Riley, Versace Biscuit; Justine Harding, Charissma; Caroline Mcquillan, Mr Brown; Lynne Spence, Jaydious Apollo; Jayne Doherty, Rollie.
Arena 3 – Intro – Judge: Lynsey Craig: Hannah Whittle, Valentino; Amy Whittle, Mullybrannon Masterplan; Catherine Robinson, Bob; Rachel Ferres, Arnold; =Nicky Nesbitt, Brave Difference & Laura Sloan, Cornascriebe Quida
Showjumping (double clears)
70cms: Heather Champion, Orby, Tom Rowlatt-McCormick, Cashal Bay Native, Ellen McEvoy, India, Helen Faulkner, Danny
80cms: Janice Ireland, Charlie, Jon Champion, Delilah, Heather Champion, Louie, Tom Rowlatt-McCormick, Cashal Bay Native, Gareth Swale, Maverick, Judith Jackson, Sam, Rachel Rooney, Autumn, Helen Faulkner, Danny, Joanne Martin, Macey, Nicky Nesbitt, Fuzzy Duck, Charlotte de Montmorency, Bluebell, Claire Steele, Paddington, Niamh Ward, Layla, Sophie Dunlop, Spot, Rachel Ferres, Arnold
90cms: Alex Greer, Phoenix Sparkie, Johnny Mulligan, Mando, Johnny Mulligan, Maddy, Catherine Robinson, Bob, Sarah McClay, Tigger, Sarah Panache, Kasino, Gareth Nethercote, Hi Barrow, Johnny Mulligan, Snowball.
1m: Johnny Mulligan, Cassie, Matthew Johnston, Tip, Vicky Dobbin, Killaughey Belle, Megan Stewart, Caddy Moon, Ann Bowe, Festy Breeze, Izzy Riley, Ballycarron Lad, Lynne Spence, Jaydious Apollo, Hannah Agnew, Bobby, Matthew Sturrock, Savannah, Nikki Corr, Charlie, Matthew Johnston, Sophie Buller, Rum Jumbie, Johnny Mulligan, Jack, Johnny Mulligan, Felix, Emma Jackson, Sam, Emma Jackson, Willow, Emma Jackson, Belle, Gareth Nethercote, Pie Barrow, Fionn Clarke, Cassidy, Hannah Blakely, Sportsfield Ruby, Enda Ivanoff, Quinnie, Ryan Truesdale, Lowhill Tick Tock, Anna Kelly, Tizzy, Anna Kelly, Arnie, Robyn McFadden, Teluel, Enda Ivanoff, Romeo, Rachel Rooney, Autumn, David Taylor, Penny, David Taylor, Freddie, Ella Boyle, Catriona, Ella Boyle, Tigger, Nicky Corr, Austin, Nicky Corr, Kenny, Chloe Rooney, Molly Mae, Angie McKeown, Bruno.
1.10m: Anna Kelly, Tizzy, Leah Knight, Milo, Emma Jackson, Impy, Emma Jackson, Silky, Emma Jackson, Willow, Jessica Nelson, Jude, Lucca Stubington, Nibbs, Lucca Stubington, Oliver, Laoise O’Farrell, Monlough Meteor, Holly Wray, Lily, Rachel Moore, Polly, Robyn McCluskey, Mellow, Fionn Clarke, Cassidy, Fergus Reid, Springhill Casanova, Fergus Reid , Springhill, Midas Touch, Johnny Mulligan, Trigger.
1.20m: Charlotte Dixon, Zermie, David Taylor, Junior
Cross Country (clear rounds): Pauline Faloon, Carlingford Sebastian, Janice Ireland, Charlie, Hannah Chambers, Domino, Pauline Faloon, Presley, Mary Davis, Marty, Jamie Nelson, Sugar Babe.