HSI Show Jumping Studbook Series Review

  • 28 July 2023, 12:25
A look back at the 2023 HSI Show Jumping Studbook Series

The Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) Show Jumping Studbook Series is a staple of the spring/summer calendar and yet again proved a wonderful success with some fantastic young horses coming to the fore. 2023 saw an increase in the overall prize fund available to the show jumping series to €95,000.

Running from May through to July, the series offers a platform for young horses as they develop towards elite level with a particular focus on representing Irish Studbooks at the WBFSH World Breeding Championships for Show Jumping in Lanaken, Belgium.

Speaking about the series, Head of Breeding, Development and Innovation with HSI, Dr Sonja Egan said: “I wish to congratulate all breeders, riders, and owners on their success throughout the Horse Sport Ireland Studbook Series 2023. It is notable that many of our league and leg winners were homebred Irish horses, and is brilliant to see.

“On review of last year’s HSI Studbook Series we worked to include aspects which aided the progressive development of these horses and producers. An increase in prize money to €95,000 which included greater breeder recognition and the introduction of a young riders’ prize, rewarding go0od breeding decisions and young producers.

“The courses saw the introduction of ground lines and optional-compulsory inclusion of the water fence. I wish to commend our course builders who supported these initiatives and built brilliant tracks, with increasing technicality week on week.

“Undoubtedly these improvements support in preparation for Lanaken. However, more importantly, the series provided a strong resource for breeders and producers to progressively develop these stars of the future, and in doing so contribute to both their experience and value.

“We will be opening a short online consultation and I encourage stakeholder’s engagement and perspectives on the series design. I look forward to working collectively to continue to enhance our young horse production programmes.”


Strong Start

Tomas Doyle and Monbeg Ruby (ISH).
Credit: Laurence Dunne, JumpInAction.net

Beginning in Galway Equestrian Centre the series got off to a strong start and saw some familiar names come to the fore. Gerard Clarke and Castleforbes Gillian (ISH) won the seven-year-old class, jumping double clear to pip Monbeg Ruby (ISH) and Tomas Doyle to top spot on the podium. Shane Moloney was third with Galilee Des Flagues (ISH), and also claimed fourth place with HHS Disney (ISH).

The series moved to Barnadown Equestrian Centre, Co Wexford for the second leg in early May, with World Champion Ethen Ahearne proving victorious LVS Goldrush H (ISH) in the seven-year-old class.

One of nine combinations to progress to a second round, including last year’s six-year-old winners Brendan Murphy and Shirsheen Calensky (ISH) and runners-up from leg one, Doyle and Monbeg Ruby, Ahearne had a time to beat of 38.94 seconds, set by the latter. A clear round in 37.55 seconds saw Ahearne come out on top.

Cavan Equestrian Centre played host to the third leg. Victory for Jonathan Smyth and Mr Kannan Ball (ISH) saw this combination move into second place in the seven-year-old league at the half-way point.

Having finished fourth in Barnadown, Smyth and the Kannan-sired gelding jumped double clear to pick up 10 league points, putting the pressure on Doyle and Monbeg Ruby. Mikey Pender put points on the league table by claiming second place with HHS Cyprus (ISH).

In the six-year-old category, Shane O’Reilly and Francis Derwin Jr both added double clears to their efforts at Barnadown and they sat on top of the table on 14 points. Molly Hughes Bravo and HHS Mercedes (ISH), the combination who, as a five-year-old won the final leg last year at Tattersalls, were runners-up in Cavan.

In the five-year-old class, Young Rider Annie Courtney-Cadam, riding LCC Dunard Lady Dominator (ISH), and Tholm Keane, riding Nairobi, shared joint first place on the league table. Linda Moloney maintained third place, just two points behind on 15, with Sir Escobar (ISH).


Heating Up

As the sun shone on Mullingar International the competition heated up with Doyle and Monbeg Ruby extending their lead, winning the seven-year-old division having claimed points at every leg of the league thus far.

In the six-year-olds, nine horses jumped clear in the first round, with three horse and rider combinations jumping clear in the second round to share the prize fund – Clarke with Drishoge Creed (ISH), Kevin Gallagher with BP Casablanca (ISH), and Pender with Madgeslane Diva (ISH).

Topping the league leaderboard at this stage of the series was Shane O’Reilly and BWE Special Rose (ISH), with Clarke and the homebred Drishoge Creed close behind in second.

A very competitive five-year-old class saw 17 horses jumping double clear in the final to divide the prize fund, with Moloney and Sir Escobar once again adding to their points tally to bolster their position on top of the league. Post Mullingar Tholm Keane, and Nairobi, Brendan Murphy and OKE Dixieland Rock (ISH), shared second place in the league.

Taking place at the Cork Summer Show, leg five saw Doyle claim yet another round of the seven-year-old division, however, this time it was on board the O.B.O.S Quality 004 (OLD)-sired gelding Monbeg Conspiracy (ISH).

Leg five was the first leg that the six-year-old horses jumped against the clock in the final round. Seven horses jumped clear to progress to the jump-off, victory went to Paul Beecher and Brogagh Darcy (ISH). Junior rider Cian Byrne slotted into second place with Lunasa Cruise (ISH)[TIH] and Marti Rudd completed the podium with Monbeg Sapphire (ISH), the result moving her into top spot in the six-year-old Studbook Series League on 22 points.

Seven combinations jumped double clear in the five-year-old class to divide the winnings, with Keane and Nairobi moving ahead of Moloney and Sir Escobar (ISH) in the league standings.

The penultimate leg of the series moved north to Balmoral Park in Co. Antrim on the second weekend of July for the National Balmoral Showjumping Championships.

Smyth and Mr Kannan Ball topped the podium once again in the seven-year-old class. Claiming second place was Irish Olympic event rider Clare Abbott with Caltra Classic (ISH), while Kilkenny’s Molly Hughes-Bravo completed the podium riding HHS Tokyo (ISH).

The overall league leader, Doyle and homebred Monbeg Ruby continued their run of excellent form. The duo took fifth place on the day to further bolster their position on top of the league on 31 points.

The win put Smyth in second place on a total of 24 points, ahead of Clarke and Castleforbes Gillian who are sat in third place with 19 points with a single leg of the series remaining.

In the six-year-old division Shane O’Reilly’s double clear on board BWE Vain Hero (ISH) in a time of 45.91 seconds saw them claim victory. Second place went to Patrick Hickey with Silverteal Indigo (WSI), pipping Molly Hughes-Bravo into third place with HHS Mercedes (ISH).

League leader Rudd’s double clear in 52.30 seconds with Monbeg Sapphire, was good enough for a sixth-place finish and further extended her lead in the league.

As happened in the previous leg, the five-year-old final saw seven horses jumping double clear to share the top spot. There was plenty of change in the league leaderboard with Courtney-Cadam and LCC Dunard Lady Dominator taking over the lead and Murphy with OKE Dixieland Rock moving into second place, pushing Keane and Nairobi and Moloney and Sir Escobar into third and fourth place respectively.


Grand Final

Marti Rudd and Monbeg Sapphire (ISH).
Credit: Laurence Dunne, JumpInAction.net

Husband and wife combination Tomas Doyle and Marti Rudd proved unbeatable in the series final at Tattersalls, Co Meath. Doyle’s sizeable built-up lead over the course of the series and a third-place finish in the final leg saw him finish on 37 points with Monbeg Ruby. Smith finished second with Mr Kannan Ball and Gerard Clarke was third with Castleforbes Gillian.

Ahearne and LVS Goldrush H finished second in the series final and shared equal fourth place in the league with Hughes Bravo and HHS Tokyo. Putting points on the board for the first time this series, Gemma Phelan won the final leg with Curraghraigue Jack Bro (ISH)

Victory in the final leg of the six-year-olds went to Shane O’Reilly and BWE Vain Hero (ISH), with Max O’Reilly Hyland in second riding Rock Warrior (ISH) and Jason Higgins and MBF Maxwill in third. Rudd and Monbeg Sapphire held onto their lead to win the league on 33 points, O’Reilly was second on 30 points with BWE Special Rose and Higgins and MBF Maxwill finished third.

Having scored league points in all bar one leg of the series it was no surprise that Brendan Murphy came out victorious in the five-year-old class with OKE Dixieland Rock (ISH). Young rider Annie Courtney-Cadam claimed second with LLC Dunard Lady Dominator and Tholm Keane and Nairobi were second.

Murphy and OKE Dixieland Rock were third in the final leg, with Vincent Byrne and Gone Girl VB (ISH) topping the podium and Loughatousa Flamenco and Tadhg Beecher in second.



Speaking to HSI after winning the six-year-old league Murphy said: “OKE Dixieland Rock has been super all through the league, it’s been a brilliant result to finish off on a high. She’s qualified for Dublin so that’s next and then we’ll hopefully aim her for Lanaken.”

Discussing the series Murphy added: “It’s brilliant. It starts off nice and small and gets bigger as it goes on, it’s a great thing to produce them through. It’s a great idea to include the water jump, they have to jump it if they go out to Lanaken and foreign shows so it’s good to start them at a young age so that they are used to doing it.”

Vincent Byrne won the final leg of the five-year-old series with Gone Girl VB. He told HSI about the story behind this homebred mare, her production pathway and his plans for her for the remainder of this season and beyond.

“She’s one of the first homebreds that we have from that particular mare. I bought the mare as a two-year-old, she was a half-sister to a horse I had for many years and was very successful for me – Mr Rockefeller (ISH). The idea always to keep her and breed from her.

“My brother competed her in the Studbook Series and a five-year-old and jumped then in Dublin as a six-year-old in the Young Riders, and then we started breeding from her.

“This was a very good opportunity in preparation towards Dublin. She’s qualified for Dublin in two weeks so that’s the next step for her and hopefully maybe Lanaken after that.

“Last year we competed in the four-year-olds in Dublin and were second in the final there, so after that we gave her a good break. We went to Villamora at the end of February this year so we brought her along. This was a great opportunity and then we have competed in the Studbook Series, starting with Mullingar.”

Vincent Byrne and Gone Girl VB (ISH) winners of the final leg of the five-year-old series, pictured with Mark Redmond of Redmond Property Maintenance, and Dr Sonja Egan, Head of Breeding, Development and Innovation with Horse Sport Ireland.
Credit: Laurence Dunne, JumpInAction.net

Following the final of the HSI 2023 Show Jumping Studbook Series, the league standings are:

Rider Horse Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3 Leg 4 Leg 5 Leg 6 Final League Total
Brendan Murphy OKE Dixieland Rock (ISH) 5 2 7 7   8 8 37
Annie Courtney-Cadam (YR) LCC Dunard Lady Dominator (ISH) 5 7 7   6 8   33
Tholm Keane Nairobi (KWPN) 5 7 7 2 6     27
Linda Moloney Sir Escobar (ISH) 5 7 5 7       24
Stephen Gibbons (YR) Ceide Candy Heart (ISH) 5     7   3 8 23
John McEntee (YR) Emerald Eric (ISH)   7 5 7     3 22
Tomas Doyle Goldsmith Balou (ISH)     2 2 8 3 6 21
Tadhg Beecher Loughatousa Flamenco (ISH)   7     6   8 21
Nicola FitzGibbon One Day Maybe (ISH) 5 7   5     3 20
Tholm Keane Lisleagh Be Lucky 5 2   7 2 2   18


Rider Horse Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3 Leg 4 Leg 5 Leg 6 Final League Total
Marti Rudd Monbeg Sapphire (ISH) 5 2 2 5 8 8 3 33
Shane O’Reilly BWE Special Rose (ISH)   7 7 5   8 3 30
Jason Higgins MBF Maxwill (KWPN) 5   7   6 2 6 26
Shane O’Reilly BWE Vain Hero (ISH)     5 5   8 7 25
Gerard Clarke Drishoge Creed (ISH) 5   5 7   2 3 22
Francis Derwin (Jnr) (YR) MMG Candy Lady (ISH)   7 7 2 5     21
Molly Hughes Bravo HHS Mercedes (ISH)     7 2   8   17
Darragh Ryan As You Want Z (ZANG)   5     8 3   16
Brendan Murphy ABS Misty (ISH) 5   5 2   3   15
Aoife Dooley Mondavi (ISH) 5   2 5       12


Rider Horse Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3 Leg 4 Leg 5 Leg 6 Final League Total
Tomas Doyle Monbeg Ruby (ISH) 8 8 1 10 1 3 6 37
Jonathan Smyth Mr Kannan Ball (ISH)   4 10     10 1 25
Gerard Clarke Castleforbes Gillian (ISH) 10   1 8     1 20
Molly Hughes Bravo (YR) HHS Tokyo (ISH)     6 6   6   18
Ethen Ahearne LVS Goldrush H (ISH)   10         8 18
Robert Splaine Coolcorron Lachlan (ISH) 4 6           10
Tomas Doyle Monbeg Conspiracy         10     10
Clare Abbott Caltra Classic (HSI)   1       8 1 10
Gemma Phelan Curraghraigue Jack Bro             10 10
Michael Pender HHS Cyprus     8         8