O’Brien moves to top of HSI/Red Mills Table after Ballinamona
- 17 March 2014, 15:53
HAVING finished in runner up position 24 hours earlier at Claremorris, Co Galway’s Thomas O’Brien went one better by winning the eighth round of the Horse Sport Ireland/Connolly’s RED MILLS Spring Tour, at Ballinamona Equestrian Centre just outside Waterford City today (Monday).
Riding the Niamh Kehoe-owned 13 year old gelding Ullrich (Emillion x Concorde), O’Brien took full advantage of his draw as last to go in the jump off, to take the lion’s share of the €2,500 on offer from sponsors Ballinamona Equestrian Centre.
Speaking afterwards Thomas O’Brien said, “I rested Ullrich at Claremorris to keep him for Ballinamona and he jumped really well here, I was very happy with him. It was a tough enough track but the course builder (Noel Phelan) did a good job. I watched Marion (Hughes) go with her first horse and I knew she was quick and she was fast too with her second horse”.
“I think I got the win from the second last to the last fence, when I jumped the second last, the horse put his eye on the last fence, sometimes you could be coming down to a fence at an angle like that and the horse might not put their eye on the fence and jump it, thankfully my horse did on the day and it worked out. We will go to Cavan next and after that we will sit down and plan where we go from there”.
Of the 35 starters just five made it into the jump-off, the first fence a square oxer, caught out quite a few in round one, as did the last fence, with Selina Bradish (Wiarosa), Brendan Ryan (Boomerang Breeze) and Corinne Hyde (Echri) all jumping clear except for the final obstacle.
The time allowed caught out quite a few also, Sarah Lang had jumped a perfect jumping round with Kingdom Warrior only to see a time fault deny her a place in the jump-off, while local favourite Francis Connors and Uskerety Diamond lady also kept all the poles intact, but agonizingly exceeded the time allowed by nine hundredths of a second and they would have to settle for sixth place at the finish.
Kilkenny’s Marion Hughes was first to go in the jump off and she immediately posted a fast clear in 26.56 seconds to take the early lead with HHS Flo (Heritage Fortunas x Clover Hill). Nicholas Butler was next to go with Queen Lux (Lux Z x Chair Lift) and again he kept the poles standing, and his time of 27.32 seconds would eventually see him finish third.
Catriona Fallon was next to go with Nivitas Charge K (Luidam x Crusing) and the Kildare rider posted another fast time (26.92) but one fence down left her in fifth overall.
Second last to and still in the lead at that stage, Marion Hughes returned to the arena with her second mount HHS Dublin (Ard VDL Douglas x Cavalier Royale), and once again she never looked like touching a pole, finishing clear in 27.37 seconds to take fourth place at the finish.
The last rider into the arena was Thomas O’Brien, full of confidence following an excellent run of results in the Spring Tour and he gauged the course to perfection with Ullrich (25.99), taking over half a second off the target, to take the maximum ten league points for their win and leaving Marion Hughes and HHS Flo as runners up.
Victory at Ballinamona moves Thomas O’Brien to the summit of the HSI/Connolly’s RED MILLS Spring Tour league table on 42 points, with Conor McEneaney now in second on 37 and Daniel Coyle third on 34.
The series now moves to Cavan Equestrian Centre for round nine on Sunday (March 23rd), before both Maryville and Kernan’s hold rounds on the same day (March 30th) at the end of this month.
HSI/ Connolly’s RED MILLS Spring Tour – Top Six Following Ballinamona
Thomas O’Brien 42 Points
Conor Mc Eneaney 37
Daniel Coyle 34
Liam O’Meara 25
James Hogg 20
Sven Hadley 14
Result – HSI/Connolly’s RED MILLS Spring Tour – Ballinamona Co Waterford. Sponsored by Ballinamona Equestrian Centre.
1st Thomas O’Brien/Ullrich 0/0 25.99
2nd Marion Hughes/HHS Flo 0/0 26.56
3rd Nicholas Butler/Queen Lux 0/0 27.32
4th Marion Hughes/HHS Dublin 0/0 27.37
5th Catriona Fallon/Nivitas Charge K 0/4 26.92
6th Francis Connors/Uskerty Diamond Lady 1/ 71.09
7th Sarah Lang/Kingdom Warrior 1/ 74.48
8th Paddy O Donnell/Hey There Delilah 4/63.30
9th Selina Braddish/Wiarosa 4/ 63.74
10th Paddy O Donnell/Rineen Supreme 4/ 64.35
5 Into Jump Off
Winning Owner – Niamh Kehoe
Top Placed Young Rider – Selina Braddish
Best Turned Out – Beauty Van de Panneberg Hoeve (Nicholas Butler)