Capt Michael Kelly winner of the TRM Horseware Premier Grand Prix at Balmoral Park
Balmoral Park proved to be a successful venue for Captain Michael Kelly when the army equitation school rider secured his second consecutive Premier Series victory on Wednesday. Unbeatable in 2014 when winning both the National and Premier Grand Prix, Kelly ensured he kept his name on the trophy for another year when coming out in front with Ringwood Glen in the fifth round of the TRM/Horseware Premier Series.With a prize fund of €10,000 on offer for Wednesday’s final class in the main arena, sponsored by the Logan and McCalmont families, Frank Glynn set a testing course for the 35 starters which yielded only three clear rounds but with ten coming back for the clocked round the victory remained undecided up until the very last combination.
Kelly, drawn in the middle of the jump-off, came back carrying four faults but was one of only two riders to keep a clean sheet in the second round to finish on a score of four faults in a time of 38.20, which would pressurise the remaining riders.
Kelly delighted with the result commented, “I’m absolutely thrilled it’s an unexpected win as I had a fence down in the first round.”
Kelly this week received confirmation that he will have two horses in the internationals in Dublin with the VDL Arkansas-sired Ringwood Glen being aimed at the Dublin Grand Prix after Wednesday’s result and a third place finish in the Vichy Grand Prix the previous week.
Alexander Butler took the runner-up position on this occasion paired with the Cruising-sired stallion Hallowberry Cruz. Another rider with a single pole down in the first round, Butler kept a cool head in the clocked round to deliver a faultless round. Taking on the shortened and raised course just before Kelly, Butler showed where the shortcuts were and stopped the clock at 38.38.
Ger O’Neill came forward with a zero score with Go For It and aimed for a steady clear in the jump-off. Unfortunately this proved unattainable when the penultimate vertical came down and his time of 44.04 would only be good enough for the yellow rosette.
Captain Geoff Curran suffered the same fate with Mullaghbane albeit in a slower time of 45.62. After a faultless performance in the first round a single pole down in the timed decider saw the pair slip down the line-up when the time then came into play.
Catherine Thornton’s time penalty aboard Derryinver Luxury Cruise could have won on the day but instead proved costly when she added four faults to finish on an aggregate score of five in a time of 46.20.
Dean Rogan finished a good week in sixth position with Falco Van Spieveld. Rogan, carrying four faults, made a concentrated effort to put the pressure on the other riders in the jump-off when recording a very fast time of 37.85 but lowered another pole to finish on a combined total of eight faults.
TRM/Horseware Premier Series Grand Prix League National Balmoral Championships 22nd July 2015