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Winter Finals 2015

Published: 17.04.2015 – Rachel Dowley

Anne Marie Dunphy and Urbanus made a clean sweep of the big tour classes in Cavan last weekend. Earning 67.00% to top the Grand Prix, they were crowned Winter Champions. “He’s come out much stronger this year”, said Dunphy of her black son of Ronaldo. “There were still some little blips today, which shows that there is a lot more to come from him.”

Anne-Marie Dunphy with Urbanus
Anne-Marie Dunphy with Urbanus

Saturday’s Prix St Georges was won by Kate Dwyer, riding her mother Maureen’s Snowdon Fabergé. Lucy Adams finished less than a mark adrift to take the reserve title, while Courtney Stuart was third with Fanfarron 8.

Stuart climbed to the top of the leader board in Sunday’s Intermédiaire I however, earning a score of 68.421% from judges Sue Petty and Roger de Cock. “I was so pleased with him today” said Stuart afterwards. “Everything felt much more established and this result couldn’t have come at a better time, as I’m now looking forward to competing at Somerford Park Premier League and my first CDIs at Hartpury and Hickstead.”

Courtney Stuart with Fanfarron 8
Courtney Stuart with Fanfarron 8

Stuart was quick to credit her trainer, Anne Marie Dunphy, for her role in her success, as was Advanced Medium Champion, Rachel Dowley. Riding Cadens, Dowley established an unassailable lead in Saturday’s test 85, and went on to win the championship by a margin of more than 2%. “I’m delighted with how Cadens went this weekend” said the rider afterwards. “He is new to this level and has only been out twice this year, but he’s starting to feel much stronger and more established in his work.”

Belinda Brereton finished second to Dowley in this class, but she went one better in the Advanced Championship to take the top spot. With her eight year old son of Negro, this is the second year in a row that Brereton has left this show with a Winter title. She echoed the thoughts of all riders when she praised the organising committee for their hard work in making the successful show run “like clockwork”.

Having finished second to Amanda Goldsbury in the Elementary Category 2 Championship, it was Lisa Dundee’s turn to top the leader board in the Medium equivalent. Riding Déjà vu Roundthorn, who is by Sandreo and was bred in Northern Ireland by Patricia Connell, she earned an average mark of 68.748%. Dundee now hopes to travel to the UK for the Hickstead Masters, as well as to make the transition to Advanced Medium later in the summer. “I’m delighted with the progress he has made recently, and with all the help I have received through the Northern Ireland talent development squad” she said afterwards.

Lisa Dundee with Déjà vu Roundthorn
Lisa Dundee with Déjà vu Roundthorn

Doing the double in both the Novice and Elementary Category 2 Championships was Amanda Goldsbury. Riding VSH Eddy, a six year old sourced by Carolyn Mellor’s Vision Sport Horses and owned by the New Zealand-based Porse Equine Education Ltd., Goldsbury enjoyed an incredible weekend, never scoring less than 73%.

Eastern Region’s David Freeney won the Elementary Category 1 Championship with CLS Hidalgo, narrowly edging ahead of Catherine Gorton on board Heartbreaker Junior. Gorton was one of many members of the Anne Marie Dunphy’s HSI High Performance Pony Development Squad to be successful over the weekend, as her contemporary Tara Hayes won two championships on her Winter Final debut.

Scoring 74.904% to win Saturday’s Under 25 Championship, thirteen year old Hayes followed this up by leaving senior opposition trailing in her wake in the Novice Category 1 equivalent. Having qualified for Hickstead, the young rider said she hopes to compete there with her pony Bantiss Holy Joe, and she has also submitted an expression of interest to compete at the BYRDS Home International in the UK. “I’m so pleased to make it to the Winter Finals” she said afterwards. “I was delighted with my pony ‘Jojo’ and my scores, and I got great support from everyone.”

Tara Hayes with Bantiss Holy Joe
Tara Hayes with Bantiss Holy Joe

Linnea Larkin finished second behind Hayes in the Under 25 Championship, but went one better in the Preliminary Category 2 class to win with The Dashing Black. One of the first graduates on the new pony squad system to make the transition to horses, Larkin appears to be taking it all in her stride. “I have been injured twice since the end of last season which has prevented me from competing my other rides” she said, “but thankfully I timed my recovery well to make it to these championships.”

Linnea Larkin with The Dashing Black
Linnea Larkin with The Dashing Black

Thomasina O’ Reilly found her name at the top of the score board in the Preliminary Category 1 class. With Rosscon Camille, she maintained the run of good form which has seen her scoring consistently over 70% this year.

For the first time ever, an FEI Pony Championship class was held at this show for members of the High Performance Squad, and five combinations came forward to contest it. Fresh from a strong performance at Addington CDIP, Sofie Walshe led after Saturday’s team test with a score of 67.692% for her ride on Horseleap Bruno. However, Alana Cazabon Sullivan’s mark of 70.671% in the individual test saw her come from behind to take the overall title with Maverick S. After consistent performances both days, Katie Burns finished second in the championship with Caracas II.

Speaking at the prize giving, Anne Marie Dunphy said “I’m so proud of all my students this weekend, and of course the pony squad, who are really starting to show their talent as riders.”

Riders were greeted by the friendly, familiar faces of Gerd and Wouter Liekens in the office, who had returned from their new home in Spain for the occasion, and there was unanimous praise for Jane Whitaker’s organising committee of Alison Mastin Moore, Norbert van Cramon and Vida Tansey.

—Rachel Dowley

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