A look back on the summer for Niamh McEvoy and Templepatrick Welcome Limmerick (ISH) as they get Nations Cup nod

  • 27 October 2022, 15:32
“I would really love to get up to that level as a senior, it would be a dream come true to be selected for a senior Nations Cup or Olympics, although I don’t think there’s anything to worry about on that front yet,” she continued.

The shining light of the Irish season so far has been Templepatrick Welcome Limmerick (ISH), with the mare already winning a pair of 2* 1.45m International Grand Prix under 18-year-old Niamh McEvoy.

The pair have been making waves and many are predicting big things for the Limmerick (HOLST) mare owned by the Bingham family – and her young rider.

Out of Irish Sport Horse Go Luckey, Templepatrick Welcome Limmerick, or Poppy as she is known in her yard, was bred by Dorothea Wilson and has progressed through series for young horses to the point where she is now potentially on the verge of competing at major championships.

McEvoy and Poppy were successful in this year’s 2* Bottle Green and Horse Sport Ireland International Grand Prix and followed that up with another success at the Mullingar 2* International, while the 18-year-old also picked up the leading international rider prize at Balmoral, as well as the young rider award.

Niamh McEvoy and Ballypatrick Welcome Limmerick (ISH) on their way to winning the Horse Sport Ireland Bottlegreen Grand Prix at the Balmoral Show in May

Owner Robin Bingham explained: “I originally spoke to speak to Peter Smyth and told him I was looking for a four-year-old and he said that Dorothea had a four-year-old mare that he thought I should look at.

“So obviously from looking at her breeding she is by Limmerick, and I like Limmerick horses, out of a Lux Z (Hann) mare so on paper she was good but when I saw her she was lovely and scopey yet also quite tight and tense. But she was very light off the ground and I really thought she had a bright future.”

And so it transpired, with Templepatrick Welcome Limmerick enjoying plenty of success as a young horse at Dublin, through the Studbook Series and the Premier Series.

“She has been great and Peter achieved so much with her, and that was him never really pushing her. I can’t speak highly enough of Peter and the work he did with the mare until it became time for Niamh to ride her.”

“Niamh gets on so well with her – hopefully she is selected to compete at the European Championships because we really are daring to dream with the mare, and we’ve had offers for her but we aren’t just after the quick buck. The buzz we get from her and the enjoyment we get from her can’t be quantified.

“To take part in the likes of World Championships or Olympic Games are the things you don’t dare to mention because they’re just so far removed from the normal. But if it does happen it will be so good, and with Niamh too because she’s so talented and treats the mare with such love. The mare comes first always for Niamh and we really appreciate that.

“The aim, obviously, is to breed off her, and to have her foals will just be fantastic. She is so talented and if we could breed anything like her we would be so lucky. We had thought about embryos and that kind of thing this year but with things going so well for her and for Niamh we didn’t want to upset the applecart. There will be plenty of time to breed from her.

Since the new season commenced, Poppy has taken her form to a new level under McEvoy, as highlighted by her victories at Balmoral and Mullingar and the young rider can now dare to dream as to where the mare can take her.

“She’s an absolutely amazing mare and it’s been a really good season so far,” McEvoy told the Irish Sport Horse Studbook.

“She’s a little bit quirky sometimes and she has her own way a little bit but she’s just one of those mares with a huge heart and I suppose a lot of that does come down to how their produced.

“Peter Smyth produced her – honestly, he did such an amazing job. When I first sat on her I could just feel that she was a mare that was so well produced because she was so confident in her job.

“She wasn’t rushed and Peter told me recently that he never did too much with her. He did although he did qualifiers and she jumped in the HSI Studbook Series and the Premier Series and that kind of thing when she was younger and they’re great classes in Ireland to produce horses.

“But Peter did a great job in keeping her confident – she’s a horse that loves to jump and it really has stood to her now and I would say that’s probably the biggest reason behind why she’s coming into herself now. He had great results on her and as well so I suppose everything is kind of falling into place this year, which is great.”

For one so young, McEvoy shows maturity beyond her years in and out of the saddle and explained some of the intricacies of establishing a relationship with a horse as they progress through the ranks. It is little wonder she is being touted as a future Olympics hopeful.

“I love horses that are not quirky, as such, but she has so much blood so when she sees a fence she’s so confident in herself. She’s maybe quirky in the sense that sometimes in a warm-up she can get a little bit excited and that sort of thing. But it shows how well in herself she is and sometimes it’s great to feel that in a horse,” added the Tyrone teenager.

“I think it’s the kind of thing they need that to jump at the top level because it does ask so much of them. They need to love their job and they need to be really, really keen and that’s exactly what I’d say she is.

Niamh McEvoy and Ballypatrick Welcome Limmerick (ISH) in action

“I get a great feeling off her when we step into the arena because she’s so she’s so willing to please and as soon as she gets in there you know she’s going to give you absolutely everything and that’s my favorite thing about her.

“At the moment she’s getting a few quiet weeks because she had like quite a busy time from doing a Premier, then to Balmoral and then to Mullingar, so she’s been getting lots of hacks and quiet work it loads of time in the field and then I’m hoping that to be selected for the Junior European Championships so fingers crossed we’ll make that squad.

Like Poppy’s owners, McEvoy files senior international representation into the dreamland category and is keeping her feet firmly on the ground, but is very happy to keep daring to be great with the mare.

“I would really love to get up to that level as a senior, it would be a dream come true to be selected for a senior Nations Cup or Olympics, although I don’t think there’s anything to worry about on that front yet,” she continued.

“But I do think she’s such a such a special mare, I think she’s a mare that could take me up to a few bigger tracks, Senior Nations Cups, things like that it’s so yes, it’s always been something I’ve dreamed of. And I must give a huge thank you to the Bingham family for allowing me the opportunity to ride her, I really appreciate it.

“She’s 12 now but there is plenty of life in her yet. She surprised me with the amount of scope she has and I do think that she’d jump a really big track and I’d love to get her into a few big shows. She’s so good and she knows she’s so good – she’s the queen of the yard – she has that swagger about her.”

Templepatrick Welcome Limmerick is the oldest progeny of her dam Go Luckey (ISH) by Lux Z (Hann) and bred by Dorothea Wilson in Ballyclare, Co. Antrim.

Go Luckey is herself a half-sister to Emoe Tiramasu (ISH), also sired by Limmerick and bred by Dorothea Wilson. This 2006 mare competed with Ireland’s Mark McAuley in the saddle before passing through the hands of Italian riders Maddalena Valenzano Menada, Emanuele Massimiliano Bianchi, and Andre Coutinho Mendonca Nagata. Since 2018, Emoe Tiramasu has been competing with Syria’s Aya Hamcho at CSI2* level.

Another successful international competitor from this family is Bellevue Celestial (ISH) by Luidam (KWPN). The dam Bellevue Bird Of Paradise (ISH) is yet another mare by Limmerick and also bred by Dorothea Wilson. Bellevue Celestial was bred by Co. Armagh’s Ruth Loney and has recently stepped up to compete at 1.40m level with Ireland’s Anthony Condon in the saddle, having previously also been campaigned by British rider Laura Johnson.

This family also produced the international Three-Day Event horse Lawanda Tawanda (ISH)[TIH]. Bred in Co. Wexford by Thomas Drought, the gelding by Kings Master (ISH)[TIH] is out of Ballyhack Beauty (ISH)[TIH], the granddam of Templepatrick Welcome Limmerick.

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