Vincent Byrne on James Weldon’s Mr Rockafeller, winner of the TRM Horseware National Grand Prix at Bannow Rathangan 9th July 2015
In the past Bannow & Rathangan Show has proved to be a happy hunting ground for Vincent Byrne and this year was no different as he took the honours in the TRM/Horseware National Grand Prix. Riding Mr Rockefeller, Byrne took the winner’s share of the €4,000 in the Jim Bolger sponsored class. This is the second win for this combination at the Wexford venue, having previously won in 2013.
Owned by James Weldon, Mr Rockefeller is an 11-year-old gelding by Ard Vdl Douglas and out of Kings Aire. Produced by Byrne for the last five years, the pairing have recorded a series of good results, both in the young rider and senior arena.
Full of praise for the horse, Byrne said; “Mr Rockefeller has always been a loyal servant to me and he is really in good form at the moment. He is fast against the clock and handles this type of ground well. The course was tricky enough and it was long. I really had no choice but to go for it as Ger had lodged a fast clear and he was following me with another fast horse. The plan was to go as quickly as I could and it worked out. This is a great show and it’s always good to see crowds of people watching showjumping.”
On duty, course designer Damian Beevor built a technical course, which saw six combinations
progress to the raised timed-round. The jump-off course asked a few questions, in particular from the triple bar into the double at the midway point.
Double handed in the jump-off, Ger O’ Neill recorded his best result with Eamonn Murphy’s Dondoctro Ryal K when he lodged a clear in 36.30 seconds, to take the lead and later the runner-up place.
With O’Neill putting in a very fast round, Vincent Byrne knew there was no option but to go for it. Setting off strong from one to fence two, Byrne made up valuable time, this matched with a forward going pace towards the end of the course saw the young Kilkenny man take the lead when clear in 35.95 seconds.
Using his late draw to his advantage with Sharon Fitzpatrick’s Isacorada, O’Neill knew what he had to do to demote Byrne. Despite keeping a close eye on the clock, he failed to take the lead when crossing the line carrying 12 faults in 46.29 for six place.
Francis Connors was also double handed in the jump-off and he delivered his best result with Hugh Fitzpatrick’s ERNE Ladygoldilocks. Opting for the safer approach paid off as he delivered a clear in 45.92 seconds, which saw him occupy third place in the final line-up. He also filled fourth place with Capitol Cruise, when crossing the line carrying four faults in 40.05 seconds.
Fellow Waterford rider, Paddy O’ Donnell also had his sights on victory as he took it on with Thomas Powers’ Harristown Gold, but despite a good time of 36.05, 12 faults lowered the pairing into fifth place.
TRM/Horseware National Grand Prix Bannow & Rathangan Show 9th July 2015 result:
Sponsored by: Jim Bolger.
TRM/Horseware National Grand Prix from Bannow & Rathangan Show 9th July result.
1st Mr Rockefeller/V Byrne 0/0/35.95
2nd Dondoctro Ryal K/G O’Neill 0/0/36.30
3rd ERNE Ladygoldilocks /F Connors 0/0/45.92
4th Capitol Cruis/ F Connors 0/4/40.05
5th Harristown Gold/P O’Donnell 0/12/36.09
6th Isacorada/G O’Neill 0/12/46.29