Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 March 2018

Irish bred horses take the spoils

Will Wimble and Lenamore put Irish horses in the frame

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Alexander Butler topped off what has been a tremendous year by being crowned this year's National Showjumping Champion, with Harold McGahern's grey Will Wimble.

Butler, from Co Meath, and her ride saw off challenges from reigning champion Eddie Moloney and Ger O'Neill to take the final round of the Showjumping Ireland and Dubai Duty Free National Grand Prix Championship at Ennis, Co Clare.

Over the three days, Butler was well-placed, having finished eighth in the opening day's qualifier and winning the second qualifier on Wednesday. They then went into the final round lying in second, just five points behind overnight leader O'Neill and Paul O'Byrne's Cassidee. Unfortunately, for O'Neill, a fence down in the first round cost them their shot at the title.

Butler, however, made no mistake in either round, producing two clears and stopping the clock in a time of 62.57 to bring them to the top of the table, taking the maximum points to bring them to 125 overall. Their tally meant that they were crowned this year's National Showjumping winners.

Moloney put up a brave fight in his quest to retain his crown. However, with John McDonald's Chatsworth Dan, they fell just short in a time of 67.16 to put them in second with an overall total of 115 points.

Overseas visitor Andrew Davies and Elektrik took third in the class, however they are ineligible to pick up National Championship points.

McGahern's eye-catching 11-year-old grey gelding by Touchdown out of The Woolsack has been prominent internationally this year, featuring on the Irish team when they won the Nations' Cup in Copenhagen, Denmark, earlier this year.

Butler and the grey were pathfinders for the Irish team and recorded the only double-clear round, helping Ireland to dominate the competition and beat 14 other nations to the trophy.

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Meanwhile, another Irish-bred grey wrote himself into the history books by taking fourth place at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. Eighteen-year-old Lenamore broke the record for collecting the highest number of British Eventing points in his career.

The 1993 grey gelding, by Sea Crest (RID) out of Karinella (TB) by Valiyar (TB), has amassed 2,203 points, making him the most successful horse ever on the British eventing scene.


Lenamore's fourth place pushed him 20 points ahead of the previous title holder, the late Spring Along, another Irish Sport Horse.

Caroline Powell's ride, owned by the MacKinnon family, has competed at 15 major three-day events, including the World Equestrian Games and the Beijing Olympics, and was placed sixth at this year's Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, and fifth at last year's event.

Lenamore won the Burghley Horse Trials last year at the age of 17, becoming the oldest horse to win the Land Rover Perpetual Challenge trophy.

Known simply as 'Ed' at home, the grey is described by many as the best cross-country horse in the world.

Last year, his owners requested that Ed be removed from the Equestrian Sports New Zealand High Performance horse trials squads for that year and next year, which means he will not feature in the London Olympics in 12 months time.

"Lenamore's owners have decided that in this stage of his career and at age 17, the horse owes them nothing and they would like Lenamore to continue campaigning solely in the UK," a New Zealand official said at the time.

Powell rode Lenamore for New Zealand at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, and they were the country's top-placed combination, in 14th place, at the 2008 Olympic Games in China.

Meanwhile, an analysis of the Burghley top 10 by William Micklem shows that both Thoroughbred (TB) and Irish Draught (ID) breeding were prominent in the breeding of the top horses, making the event another good day for Irish breeding.

The placings were:

1. Parklane Hawk (Full TB).

2. Nereo (75pc TB, by TB Fines).

3. Kings Temptress (85pc TB By TB Primitive Rising).

4. Lenamore (50pc TB, 50pc ID by ID Sea Crest).

5. Clifton Lush (full TB).

6. Lead The Way (full TB).

7. Neville Bardos (full TB).

8. Avebury (70pc TB, 30 ID).

9. Zero Flight (75pc TB by TB Zero Watt).

10. High Kingdom (93.75pc TB by TB Master Imp).


Meanwhile, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney last week launched CapallOir, Horse Sport Ireland's new online database.

CapallOir contains records of more than 320,000 horses, with some having recorded pedigree dating back to the turn of the century.

In addition, there are links to the results of horses in national and international competition, courtesy of international governing body the FEI, Showjumping Ireland, Eventing Ireland and the Association of Irish Riding Clubs.

The database also provides breeders with Mean Kinship figures for Irish Draught horses, which will be important information in maintaining genetic diversity within the Irish Draught horse population.


Speaking at the launch, Mr Coveney said: "I want to congratulate HSI on this development, which I am pleased to say has been financially supported by my Department under the National Development Plan. The data provided online will be of immense benefit to both breeders and potential buyers."

Horse Sport Ireland chairman Joe Walsh said that the equestrian sector had been characterised by fragmentation.

"There are a multiplicity of different organisations running equestrian competitions, and this database gives breeders the pedigree and progeny details for horses on the Irish Horse Register as well as direct links to performance results for over 30,000 of the horses," he said.

"One of the main reasons for establishing Horse Sport Ireland was to bring the breeding and sport side of the equestrian sector together, and this database is a manifestation of this.

"It will be an invaluable tool to breeders and anyone with an interest in the sport horse sector."

The database is open to all paid-up members of the Irish Horse Board, subject to usage limits. To activate your account, you will need your IHB shareholder number and password. These were included in a letter sent to paid-up members alongside this year's Stallion Book.

Non-IHB members who wish to access the full system can either pay their annual subscription if they are an existing shareholder, become a shareholder or become a commercial user of CapallOir.

Non-logged-in members can conduct a limited search or view the demonstration model.

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