Report on last week end’s Equestrian Stores NI Pony Premier Series

27 May Report on last week end’s Equestrian Stores NI Pony Premier Series


The Equestrian Store N.I. sponsored Pony Premier reached the half way stage on Sunday 24th May when Maurice Cousins and the team at Barnadown played host to this hugely successful league.  The second HSI viewing trial was also incorporated into this show and with this in mind Mark McGowan was the chosen course designer.

As the ‘sunny South East’ lived up to its name the action kicked off sharp at 9.00 am on Sunday morning with the 128 Under 10 Premier, this was one of the best displays of show jumping witnessed in a long time.  Thirty one combinations threw their hats into the ring where twenty two jumped their way into the second round and with only one pair faltering twenty one battled it out against the clock. Marta Hughes Bravo led for a while on ‘Cocky Rocky’ 0/0/0 29.43, only to relegate herself with her other pony ‘Little Miss Big Time’ 0/0/0 28.21 but still this was not fast enough as Katie McEntee and ‘Super Sonic’ jumped a blistering round leaving everything intact in 27.96 to take the win and full league points. Coen Williams separated Bravo’s two as he slotted into third place with ‘Castle Quarter Hero’ 0/0/0 28.77, he also finished in fifth on PARC Sassy Brassy 0/0/0 29.58 with another protégé of Tom Slattery claiming sixth place – Kian Dore and ‘PARC Pixie’ 0/0/0 30.93. Williams holds onto the top spot in the league table with 24 points as McEntee continues to bite at his heels on 22 points with Dore catching up on 19 points.

Mark McGowan was so impressed with the concept of the competition and the standard and talents of our youngest athletes, food for thought for Scottish show jumping.

The 128 Premier continued in the same vein as the level of jumping continued to exceed all expectations. Twenty seven went to post in this one, where sixteen went into the second round. Losing only three resulted in thirteen in the jump off where it was almost an Ulster region whitewash, first to go was John McEntee and ‘Star Spangled Banner’ this pair jumped clear in 37.53, good enough for fourth. Next in was Ryan Sweetnam and ‘The Silver Legend’, this pair were under pressure to perform as well as his sisters had the week before and perform he did as they stormed home in 35.77 with all intact to take the lead.  This held until the third last to go shaved .32 of a second off that time to take the lead and the win, it was a wonderful display from Banbridge athlete Alex Finney and ‘Ballyknock Master Roan’ 0/0/0 35.45.  Third place went to Natasha Kerr and ‘The Nut Cracker’ also a Banbridge native their time of 36.59. Rhys Williams emulated his younger brothers success as he finished in fifth in this division when riding ‘Derrylogher Misty’ 0/0/0 40.38 with Niamh McEvoy representing Co Tyrone claiming sixth place with ‘Sparkling Majestic Ceaser’ 0/0/0 43.82.  The leader board for this section is also very tight as it is headed by Francis Derwin on 21 points ahead of McEntee in runner up spot on 19 points with Finney catching up on 15 points.

For another year the numbers are slightly lower in the 138 division but quality is definitely shining over quantity as Harry Allen remained on a 100% strike rate. Riding ‘Fountain Ranger’ this pair claimed their third win from three starts remaining on a zero score in a time of 35.12, Jason Foley continued his come back from injury in fine style as he finished in second and fifth place with ‘Bear Me In Mind’ 0/0/0 37.87 and ‘Kiltormer Hero’ 0/0/0 40.55. Kate Derwin took third with ‘Sligo Lux To Queeney’ only marginally slower than Foley 0/0/0 37.96 with Charlotte Houston and ‘Woodfield Superstar’ proving their consistency as they finished fourth for the third time in the league.0/0/0 39.26. Leah Stack picked up points for her sixth place finish with ’Amber Leaf’0/0/0/41.19.  Allen continues to dominate the leader board on 30 points with Derwin in second (23 points) and Foley third (19 points).

The first round of the 148 Premier was the last counting round for those seeking points towards European selection and as such saw forty combinations start, this was reduced to ten for the second round two of these going forward with one time fault. Six remained on zero to go into the jump off where Cormac Foley took the title on ‘Another Destiny’ leaving everything up in a time of 38.76.  Runner up was Adam Carey on ‘Stakkati’ as they stopped the clock in 39.34 on a zero score, this pair seeking accreditation to compete at the Europeans for the home nation Sweden. Cian Harrison and ‘Greta III’ were the only other partnership to remain on zero and they took third with a time of 42.57 as the fastest four falter was Abbie Sweetnam and ‘Spartacus Reape’ 0/0/4 38.40 for fourth ahead of Jack Ryan having returned from a successful trip to Deauville on Children On Horses he took fifth on ‘Sixmilewater Blaze’ 0/0/4 40.42. Sixth place went to Olivia Roulston and ‘Ballygawleys Little Ferro’ 0/0/8 38.11. The leader board in this division couldn’t be any tighter as Jack Ryan and Cormac Foley are joint at the top on 15 points with Abbie Sweetnam tucked in tightly behind on 14 points.

The action is sure to hot up even further as this Equestrian Store N.I. sponsored league moves to Cavan Equestrian on 13th June for the fourth league of a six leg series.