Farm Ireland

Thursday 19 April 2018

Sparrow soars to victory in Connemara

Valerie Gateau's Queen Theillet won the four-year-old performance mare championship at last week's Connemara Pony Show in Clifden
Valerie Gateau's Queen Theillet won the four-year-old performance mare championship at last week's Connemara Pony Show in Clifden

Siobhán English

The versatile stallion Bobby Sparrow Blue continued his winning streak at Clifden this year with regular rider Justine O'Hara when securing the spoils in the high performance final.

In what proved to be a good few days for the connections he also sired Vales Blue Bobby Sparrow, third in the green hunter final which was won by Lisa Hockley on Carnakilly Finn.

The €3,000 high performance final saw 24 combinations forward from the qualifiers held countrywide throughout the summer, but in the end only a handful of combinations showed the standard of jumping required by leaving all the fences intact.

The final results were based on their jumping ability, in addition to movement, conformation and type. Judges on the day were Peter Molloy and Pat Stirling.

Second place went to Hannah Gordon riding Derryronane Stud's 11-year-old stallion Black Shadow. His progeny Brackagh Dream and Donn Boy also appeared in the line-up in the green hunter final in fifth and seventh.

As one of the oldest ponies competing at the show, the 20-year-old Bobby Sparrow Blue again gave a truly impressive display of jumping at a venue which has provided him with some of his biggest wins of his career.

Owned by Patricia Dalton of Faughanvale Stables in Derry, he shared a win in the first ever Puissance at Clifden in 2009 when clearing 1.55m. He was also a joint winner in 2010 and won it outright in 2011 when Justine was just 14 years old. Two years ago, Susan Oakes set a record when riding him side-saddle to clear 1.35m.

A Grade A show jumper, Bobby Sparrow Blue is a full-brother to fellow Grade A pony Some Man For One Man, who represented Ireland at European Championship level on numerous occasions.

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Both ponies boast outstanding performance bloodlines as their sire Ashfield Bobby Sparrow goes back to Carna Bobby who won at Clifden five times.

Honours in the working hunter championship went to Pataire Crawford riding her mother Claire's six-year-old mare Ardfry Jade. Winners of the under 16s class earlier in the day, they stood supreme ahead of Alicia Devlin-Byrne and Blackwood Fernando, winners of the over 16s equivalent.

Edwina O'Connor rode Agharanny Minstrel, by Castleside JJ, to win the stallion division.

It proved a great few days for Devlin-Byrne who, in addition to the Puissance win also claimed the workers for four to six-year-old ponies with Bertraghboy Beau Geste and the side-saddle class the day previously on board Bertraghboy Heaven.

Both ponies are owned by the chief justice of Ireland, Susan Denham.

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