The absence of a Northern Region event created an opening for an unaffiliated derby which was held at Tullylish, courtesy of the Stevenson family.
Resident course designer, Adam Stevenson, brought all of his creativity to bear to create his own version of Hickstead. No stone was left unturned by Jim, Bronagh or Adam in their efforts to have everything looking perfect and to create a lovely relaxed atmosphere for those from north and south who attended.
Kat Butler-Ward, who has just recently returned to the saddle following the birth of her son, took the honours with her 14-year-old Amiro M gelding,
The Spin Doctor, completing the 22 efforts clear and marginally closer to the optimum time than second placed Neil Morrison riding Dilly Diamond Queen, a nine-year-old mare by the Irish Draft stallion, Bright Diamond, owned by Karen King.
Vicky Dobbin, who has also recently made a comeback following the birth of her son, shared the top position in the 90cms class on her very accomplished veteran gelding, Villa Imp, with Orla Sheehan riding Ann Bowe’s Autumn Breeze. Orla, from Emyvale in Co Monaghan, is more regularly seen instructing at Castle Leslie and participating in riding club activities in the Glaslough venue.
The 75/80cms class also saw a division of the top prize between Laura McKay riding the lovely nine-year-old Connemara mare, Honeyhill Caramel, previously campaigned by Suzanne Hagan three years ago and Conor McClory riding Alfred Buller’s mare, Hilda. Conor added another rosette to his collection by taking third on Ears.
Everyone who participated in the derby was fulsome in their praise for the courses and the great educational opportunities provided in a spectacular setting.
The Northern Region would like to extend a huge thank you to the Stevenson family for the use of their venue and for all their help and support in preparing for the event.
Thanks, too, to the volunteers who turned up to fence judge, do timekeeper for both start and finish, act as scorer as well as road crossing patrol.
1m: 1, Kat Butler-Ward, The Spin Doctor; 2, Neil Morrison, Dilly Diamond Queen; 3, Kirstin Thom, Slemish Rio Grande; 4, Laoisse O’Farrell, Miss Cole; 5, Suzanne Hagan, Futuristic; 6, Suzanne Hagan, Tax Break.
90cms: 1 (tie) Vicky Dobbin, Villa Imp and Orla Sheehan, Autumn Breeze; 3, Nikki Cullen, Tango Lad; 4, Fiona McMillan, Bear; 5, Orla Sheehan, Scottie; 6, Nicky Nesbitt, Carrickview Saratoga.
75/80cms: 1 (tie) Laura McKay, Honeyhill Caramel and Conor McClory, Hilda; 3, Conor McClory, Ears; 4, Leah Knight, Lexi; 5, Leah Knight, Odin; 6, David Kehoe, Darcy.