Farm Ireland

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Superb Adventure lands Aoife a world silver at Lion D'Angers

Clark in best ever result for ISH at Breeding Championships for young event horses

SILVER LINING: HSI coaches Ian Fearon (left) and Janet Murray (right), pictured with silver medallists Aoife Clark and Fernhill Adventure at the seven-year-old World Breeding Championships for young event horses in Lion d'Angers recently EVENTING PHOTO
SILVER LINING: HSI coaches Ian Fearon (left) and Janet Murray (right), pictured with silver medallists Aoife Clark and Fernhill Adventure at the seven-year-old World Breeding Championships for young event horses in Lion d'Angers recently EVENTING PHOTO
ACHIEVEMENT: Andrew Nicholson from New Zealand atop Mr Cruise Control, the highest placed Irish Sport Horse in the individual eventing rankings in sixth place KIT HOUGHTON
Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Ireland's Aoife Clark and the seven-year-old Fernhill Adventure produced the best ever result for the Irish Sport Horse (ISH) studbook at the World Breeding Federation of Sport Horses (WBFSH) Championships for young event horses by taking home a silver medal.

Fernhill Adventure, owned by Richard Last and bred by Mary Quinlivan from Kanturk, Co Cork, is by Newmarket Venture (HANN) out of Cloverwood (ISH), by Clover Hill (ID).

The gelding was in good form prior to the championships at Lion d'Angers, winning the novice regional final at Catton on his dressage score of 20.5, finishing second in the open/intermediate at Gatcombe and finishing third in his first two-star at Barbury Castle.

His form continued at Lion, with a brilliant dressage score of 41.10, just 3.3 points off the French leader Mathieu Lemoine and Bart L.


"I knew he'd come on a lot in the weeks running up to Lion and my aim was a score in the 30s. I watched William Fox-Pitt's test and I thought it was superb so when I equalled his score I was thrilled," Aoife told the Farming Independent.

The cross-country phase proved to be a walk in the park for the seven-year-old gelding.

"He just flew around, I think we went 14 seconds inside the time," said Aoife. "He is just a really top class horse with loads of ability and we haven't seen him at his best yet. He's quite a tall horse and still has lots of maturing to do and more muscle to build up."

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In terms of temperament and rideability, Fernhill Adventure is quite a sharp horse, which the rider prefers.

"I like my horses to be switched on and he's very quick with his legs," she remarked. "At the water fence, the striding was quite long but because the horse is so big, he is made to feel almost short but he still got his legs out of the way."

Heavy ground in the showjumping arena caused problems for many riders whose horses have not worked much in deep going in 2013.

"We had one rail down," recalled Aoife. "He just breathed on it and it fell, which he didn't really deserve as he jumped so well. I would have been terribly disappointed if that rail was the difference between winning and second place but as it happened, it didn't make any difference."

The seven-year-old championship was won by France's Thomas Carlile and Sirocco du Gers. The Frenchman also took the gold medal in the six-year-old championship with Tenareze. Clark also took eighth place in the six-year-old championship at Lion with Patrick Jones and John Forde's Irish Sport Horse gelding Wasting Light (by Ghareeb (TB) out of Barnview Diamond (ISH), by Furisto's Diamond (ISH)).


Clark will now turn her attention to planning for the 2014 season, after a remarkable two years that saw her finish individual seventh at the London Olympics on Master Crusoe, win Blenheim on Fenya's Elegance and take home a young horse silver medal on Fernhill Adventure.

Of her top competition horses, Master Crusoe is aimed at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy next year and Fenya's Elegance has also put herself into the frame following her Blenheim performance.

Arlando, an eight-year-old, is expected to make an assault on Bramham, while Wasting Light and Fernhill Adventure will be nurtured along at a pace to suit them throughout the year.

Meanwhile, the ISH studbook was once again confirmed as the number one studbook in the world for event horses by the World Breeding Federation of Sport Horses (WBFSH) in 2013. The ISH studbook topped the rankings on 1,068 points, with six horses contributing to the final ranking points. See Table 1, above.

The ISH won the eventing rankings every year from 1994 up until 2010. In 2012, the studbook reclaimed its top spot with 1,427 points and Mr Medicott (ISH) was named the number one event horse in the world.

This year, Andrew Nicholson's ride, Mr Cruise Control, was the highest placed Irish Sport Horse in the individual eventing rankings, taking sixth place.

Born in 1999, the chestnut gelding was bred by Hartwell Stud's Jenny McCann and sired by their resident stallion, Cruising (ISH). He is out of the Broussard (TB) mare Chia (ISH). In June, the eye-catching grey took his Kiwi rider to victory in the hotly-contested Luhmuhlen CCI four-star competition.


Looking further down the rankings, Ballynoe Castle RM ranked 31st individually.

The 13-year-old gelding had several top five international placings, including fourth in the Rolex Kentucky CCI four-star with Bruce Davidson Jnr (USA).

Bred by Sylvester Cullen in Co Wexford, Ballynoe Castle RM is by Ramiro B (BWP) out of Ballyvaldon Natalie (ISH), by Blue Laser (TB). He is a full brother to CIC three-star eventer Tommy B Good (ISH), ridden by Ireland's Denise O'Brien.

Following closely behind in individual 34th place was the 2012 London Olympics team silver medallist, High Kingdom.

Ridden by Britain's Zara Phillips, High Kingdom finished second to Mr Cruise Control in Luhmuhlen. A full brother to Olympic event horse Mandiba (ISH), High Kingdom is by Master Imp (TB) out of High Dolly (ISH), by Chair Lift (TB), and was bred by Wicklow's William Micklem.

Another Wicklow-bred horse, Harbour Pilot, finished in 42nd place. Bred by Jacqueline Mars at Kilbride Stud, Harbour Pilot is another horse by Cruising, out of the eventing thoroughbred mare Shannon, who competed with Karen O'Connor (USA).

Ranked individual 50th was the 11-year-old gelding Cambalda. Ridden by American rider Jennie Brannigan, Cambalda recorded three second place finishes at CIC three-star level.

Sired by Balda Beau (TB) and out of the ISH mare Cathy's Lady, Cambalda (ISH) was bred in Co Kilkenny by John Irish.

Last but by no means least of the six top ISH horses was Fernhill Eagle (ISH) who finished in individual 51st place.

Ridden by Phillip Dutton, the pair finished eleventh at Rolex Kentucky CCI four-star this year. He is by the ISH sire Coronea Eagle out of Tango Teela (ISH), by Cornelscourt (TB).

Irish Independent