Kilkenny breeders and producers dominate at Barnadown

Ger O’Neill records fastest of four double clears at Irish Breeders Classic grand final

Kilkenny breeders and producers dominated the Irish Breeders Classic grand final for five and six-year-old show jumping horses at Barnadown on Sunday.

Based in Bennettsbridge at his Castlefield Sport Horses' yard, Ger O'Neill recorded the fastest of four double clears on the 2011 Toulon mare Columbcille Gipsy which was bred in Thomastown by her owner Eamonn Murphy out of a mare by the thoroughbred Grundyman.

Also bred in the county by her owner Sinead Byrne, the 2011 Cardento mare MHS Jersey Girl finished second (35.01) under Jack Brennan while the top-placed five-year-old in third (36.90) was the Cardento gelding MHS Fernhill which was ridden by Sophie Richards for Kilkenny City's Carol Gee. Jenny Rankin recorded the fourth double clear on Deirdre Bourns's Sea Topblue (37.79), a gelding by Chacco Blue.

In eventing, Oliver Townend, who provided the discard score when Britain recently won the European eventing championships in Poland, led home a British 1-2-3-4 at the Land Rover Burghley horse trials on Sunday.


The 34-year-old, who was landing the four-star event for the second time, was on board the Irish Sport Horse gelding Ballaghmor Class on which he had gone into the lead following Saturday’s cross-country phase and on which he completed on a penalty total of 45.6.

The 10-year-old grey by Courage II was bred in Co Limerick by Noel Hickey but was in the ownership of Pat Meagher when sold as a three-year-old at Tattersalls' elite sale of event horses in 2010 to Judy Tobin and Kathy Charlton. The latter produced him through the four-year-old Future Event Horse League until she and Tobin sold him at the end of that season to Townend.

Irish-bred horses also finished second and third on Sunday, Piggy French claiming the runner-up spot on the 2005 Camiro de Haar Z mare Vanir Kamira (46.9) while Gemma Tattersall finished third on the ex-racehorse Arctic Soul (47), a 14-year-old gelding by Luso. The only horse to complete the four-star event on its dressage score was the unraced Irish thoroughbred Star Witness (53.2), a 2005 Witness Box gelding which finished seventh under Britain's Tina Cook.

Hillsborough's Clare Abbott was best-placed of the three Irish riders at Burghley, finishing 13th on the McKay family's home-bred Euro Prince (67.3) with which she made her Olympic debut last year in Rio de Janeiro.