Smith is unbeatable in Six-Year-Old Eventing Studbook Series

  • 14 September 2023, 10:44

Steven Smith and Strangford (ISH) winners of the HSI Eventing Studbook Series for Six-Year-Olds. Pictured at Clonmahon House.

Steven Smith took the top three places in the 2023 HSI Eventing Studbook Series for Six-Year-Old Horses

2023 saw an increase in the overall prize fund available to the show jumping series and the return of the eventing series for the first time since 2019.

Running from May through to September, Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) Studbook Series include a show jumping and eventing series. These series provide 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 in Show Jumping and Eventing.

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, it 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 fund to €95,000 which included greater breeder recognition and the introduction of a young riders’ prize, rewarding and good breeding decisions and young producers.”

The HSI Studbook Series is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and HSI’s coverage is brought to you in association with Redmond Property Maintenance.

Eventing Series

The eventing series opened at the inaugural one-day event in Clonmahon House, Co Meath in early June. In the seven-year-old division it was Sara Glynn with Granny Jean’s Unicorn (ISH) who took the honours, owned in partnership between Glynn and her mother Laura. Dressage leaders Patrick Whelan and Dermish Chill (ISH) finished second, The Chillout (ISH)-sired gelding is owned by Paul Donovan.

The six-year-old class attracted high entries and proved highly competitive with only three combinations completing on their dressage score. It was a one-two for Steven Smith who won the class with Terry Johnston’s Strangford (ISH) on a score of 31.3 and was second with CJO Kann Surprise (ISH) on 31.8, owned by Caroline Overend and Carla Leitch. Fellow Northern Irish rider Joseph Murphy completed the podium with his own Dstud Flirtation (ISH).

Adam Haugh won the five-year-old class with his own Chrome (ISH) on a score of 28, Elaine O’Connor claimed second place with Tullymurry Grace (ISH), owned by David O’Connor.

The second leg of the series took place in Rosanna, Co Wicklow and saw traditional Irish-bred horses dominate, especially in the five-year-old class. Caitie Slater had a one-two leading from the dressage phase onwards. Slater won on board Richard Ames’ Belline Imperial Diamond (ISH)[TIH] and finished second with JFH Golden Spear (ISH)[TIH], following a fifth-place finish in the opening leg. Completing the podium was Georgina Pettit and BCL Belletastic (ISH)[TIH], owned by Marguerite Pettit.

Smith recorded his second victory in the six-year-old division, riding CJO Kann Surprise, who was the runner-up at Clonmahon House. Following the first two legs Smith held first and second place in the overall series.

Whelan and Dermish Chill added valuable league points when winning the seven-year-old class. Alyssa O’Neill and her own Danos Lola (ISH) finished in second place.

The third leg of series moved to Ballindenisk, Co Cork. In the seven-year-old class all bar one combination successfully finished on their dressage score, finishing one second over the time allowed in the show jumping meant Sarah Ennis ad Silken Icon (ISH) added 0.4 penalties to their dressage score, however, this did not impact the overall standings.

Victory went to Suzanne Hagan with her own Loughview Commander (ISH), on a score of 27.5. Close on her heels was Joseph Murphy riding his own My Foxhall Kit (ISH) on 28.2. Completing the top three was Michael Ryan, riding Tom and Carol Henry’s Tullibards Bennys Rainbow (ISH).

Daniel Alderson won the six-year-old class with the Margaret G Moore-owned and bred mare Annestown Royal Blue (ISH). This result catapulted this combination up the league leaderboard.

Victory in the five-year-old division went to Nicola Ennis, riding her sister Suzanne Ennis’ CBI Joker (WSI), finishing on a score of 26.0, ahead of Pettit and BCL Belletastic in second. Third place went to Slater and JFH Golden Spear. This podium finish for Slater proved very valuable moving this combination four points clear at the top of the league.

Unfortunately, the fourth leg of the series due to take place in Tattersalls was cancelled due to heavy rainfall.


Eventing Stud Book Series Final

Going into the final of the series Whelan and Dermish Chill held their lead in the seven-year-old division. Smith was in equal first place in the league with two of his rides – Strangford and CJO Kann Surprise, and Elaine O’Connor had a two point advantage in the five-year-old class with Tullymurry Grace (ISH).

The series final took place at the Eventing Ireland National Championships in Kilguilkey House, Co Cork.

Irish Olympian Clare Abbott and Drumnaconnell Kobie (ISH), owned and bred by Lawrence Patterson, won the final leg of the seven-year-old class, coming home six marks clear of her nearest rival – Daniel Alderson and Tullibards You Make Me Feel (ISH). Michael Ryan was third with JVK Eclipse (ISH)[TIH].

Smith once again dominated in the final of the six-year-old division, claiming the top two places with Tulleher Paudie (ISH) and Strangford (ISH) respectively. Daniel Alderson completed the podium with Annestown Royal Blue (ISH).

The final leg of the five-year-olds attracted the largest entries. Abbott made it two from two, winning on board her own MT Luxaan (ISH). Isabella Gogan finished second with Ardeo Copperton Kryptonite (ISH) and O’Connor was third with Tullymurry Grace (ISH).

In the final league standing Whelan held on his lead to claim the seven-year-old class with Dermish Chill. Hagan and Loughview Commander (ISH) were second and Glynn and Granny Jean’s Unicorn completed the podium following their victory in the opening leg of the series.

Smith proved unstoppable in the six-year-olds – claiming the top three places in the league. He was victorious with Strangford, completing on an impressive 35 points. Smith finished second with CJO Kann Surprise on 25 points and third with Tullaher Paudie on 23 points.

The five-year-old leagued proved fiercely competitive with very little separating the top three. The traditionally bred Belline JFH Golden Spear ridden by Slater won the league on 22 points following excellent performances in the first three legs of the series. O’Connor and Tullymurry Grace claimed valuable points in the final to finish second and Petitt and BCL Belletastic were third.

Seven-Year-Old League Table – Final

Six-Year-Old League Table – Final

Five-Year-Old League Table – Final