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Independent.ie

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Why Bloomfield horses have an impressive track record at the RDS

 

Jane Bradbury on her winning lap of honour aboard Bloomfield Excelsior after winning the supreme hunter title at the RDS in 2014
Jane Bradbury on her winning lap of honour aboard Bloomfield Excelsior after winning the supreme hunter title at the RDS in 2014
Jane Bradbury (left) and Daphne Tierney pictured with well-known Wicklow horseman David Cosby
Siobhan English

Siobhan English

Rarely does the Bloomfield Team leave the Dublin Horse Show without a champion's sash, or two. This year, Jane Bradbury and Daphne Tierney - the duo behind the team - are right on target for another bumper week, with eight horses currently being primed for the five-day spectacular next month.

For over 15 years now, the Wicklow-born Bloomfield prefix has been a household name on the showing circuit, from Wexford up to Belfast and further afield in the UK, where many graduates continue to keep the flag flying in both the show ring and eventing circuits.

The RDS, in particular, has been a very happy hunting ground over the years, and this year's supreme hunter title is now the target with their recent Balmoral champion, Bloomfield Bespoke.

"It all started when I needed someone to foal down my mares and Jane's father, Jimmy, suggested that I call Jane," Daphne Tierney recalls of their first encounter. "We have been great friends ever since and we now have a great team in place, backed up by the hard-working Wendy Anderson and Philip Lazenby, who drives all our horses to and from the shows."

Having ridden ponies as a child, Ms Bradbury then dabbled in horses and did a short stint at Iris Kellett's on Mespil Road, Dublin. The showing circuit was her first love, though, and in 1988 she rode Brown Sabre to win the mares' championship at the RDS.

"I remember that day well," Jane Bradbury says. "William Micklem had helped us find her and she was owned by the late Diana Gilna, who had been very good to me at that time, as had Tommy Brennan, Jane Bloomer and Mary McCann. And even though my parents, Carol and Jimmy, didn't come from a horsey background, they have always been hugely supportive throughout."

By the early 1990s, the Bloomfield team was up and running, and one of their first mares was the King's Ride produce Sea Bright. The other was Aerlite Classic.

Thanks to the keen eye of her late father, the farmer and businessman Willie Roche, Ms Tierney had picked up the lightly raced Aerlite Classic for a handy sum at Tattersalls Ireland with the aim of breeding a few nice sport horses.

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Little did they know back then that the daughter of Aristocracy would prove to be such a valuable foundation mare and one that appears in the back-breeding of so many of their top show horses today.

One in particular is her prolific daughter Bloomfield Rebekah, champion mare, champion middleweight and winner of the Pembroke Cup for best home-bred at the RDS in 2004.

"Aerlite Classic really was a tremendous mare," Jane Bradbury remembers. "In total she bred three RDS champions from eight foals."

Bloomfield Rebekah, by Sea Crest, was the second foal and, seven years later, Bloomfield Ollie joined the ranks. A son of the RID sire Crosstown Dancer, he provided the duo with their first ever champion hunter's title as a four-year-old in 2011.

It was not the first time that Jane Bradbury had tasted success in the supreme hunter judging in the Main Arena, but for Ms Tierney as a loyal supporter of Irish breeding, this really was the icing on the cake.

That same summer, Aerlite Classic produced another colt by Crosstown Dancer, and in 2013 Bloomfield Eulogy became the third produce (and the mare's last foal) to win a title at the Dublin Horse Show when landing the two-year-old championship for his delighted connections.

It was to be bittersweet, however, as they tragically lost both Ollie and Eulogy that same year.

Fortunately, though, Bloomfield Rebekah was retained as a broodmare and to date has produced nine foals. These include the three-year-old Emperor Augustus gelding Bloomfield Vitruvius, a recent champion at Gorey and a contender for the Laidlaw and Pembroke cups in a month's time.

Legacy

The legacy also continues through Bloomfield Abbey, whose son Bloomfield Kylemore will contest the five-year-old lightweights at Dublin.

"Rebekah has been very lucky for us," adds Ms Bradbury. "She is also the dam of the full-brothers Bloomfield William (a former RDS champion foal) and Bloomfield Tiger II, which are now eventing in the UK. Both are by Ghareeb."

As a small-time breeder, the birth of fillies is always welcomed to keep the line going, but in recent years Daphne Tierney has ended up with a high number of colts, the majority of which are sold on after their showing career in Ireland is complete.

"Jane is delighted every time we have a colt but I am always looking for a filly," she says.

In a bid to keep producing horses with traditional Irish bloodlines, the team spend the winter months visiting private yards and undergo many trips to Goresbridge Sales in search of the next potential superstar.

Most are bought as green three-year-olds, with the odd exception of something younger.

On occasion, their shopping trips are unsuccessful, but in recent years their purchases have included the likes of Dublin winners Bloomfield Basil, an RDS champion lightweight in 2011, the 2013 middleweight champion Bloomfield Bergerac, the 2014 three-year-old winner Bloomfield Spotlight, and their supreme hunter champion that same year, Bloomfield Excelsior.

All four have since gone on to excel on the British showing circuit, but one who joined the team in 2015 is now very much the star of the show this summer.

Picked up in Goresbridge from his breeder, James Nash, Bloomfield Bespoke first caught the eye of the judges at Gorey last year and later went on to take the reserve middleweight champion's title in the RDS.

In May of this year, the five-year-old by Future Trend provided Jane Bradbury and the Bloomfield team with their first Balmoral supreme hunter accolade, and they are now optimistic that he will give them another good outing in Dublin.

"He is such a good character," Ms Bradbury says of the 17h horse, whose dam carries Irish Draught bloodlines, as a daughter of Prospect Pride.

"No matter what, we always try and find Irish breeding, on both sides if possible - but if not, definitely on the dam's side," she continues.

"Daphne loves her horses and her breeding, and has been a great supporter of Irish showing for years, so it's nice to give something back when these horses do so well," Ms Bradbury concludes.


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