Performance Day Friday Clifden 12
Spectators at Clifden on Friday were treated to a spectacular course of fences to test the Performance ponies, including a bullfinch, a bank, a fence depicting the Connemara mountains, and the now traditional dip in the river. Spectators only complaint was that no rider’s names were given in the catalogue except for the Puissance Competition.
The first class on another very hot and sunny day was the 4 to 6 year old working hunter, which went to Michael Nestor’s lovely palomino Maddie’s Princess, well-ridden by Conor Maguire
While the young ponies jumped a shorter course, the next class, the Under-16’s, tackled the full length of course builder Pascal Crawford’s testing track. A particular challenge was a line where the ponies jumped through a bullfinch, then were immediately faced by a narrow stile-gate, followed directly by a jump down from a shingly bank. The overall impression was of a “high performance” type course, although the class of the same name was not on until later in the day.
Experienced ponies therefore came to the fore in the working hunter classes. The Under-16 class was won by the very successful Lydia Dawson’s Gloster Boy, owned by Helena Dawson, withWestmir Queen and Pataire Crawford in 2nd place.
The only two clear rounds in the Over-16 class ( with 17 competitors) came from Blackwood Fernando and Alicia Devlin Byrne and Grey Victory ridden by Emily Higgins, who filled the first two places respectively.
The Stallion class was won by Tom Murray’s Plume de Kezeg with a terrific round. The jump into and out of the adjoining river caused minimal problems this year when there were plenty of other challenging fences to contend with.
When the High Performance class came around, the course became even stiffer, with the addition of the attractive Galway Hooker fence and a very difficult treble combination).
To the disappointment of the large crowd, there were no clear rounds in the class, with the treble often proving the bogey fence.
The class produced a worthy and popular winner, however, in the form of 10 year old Pataire Crawford, who jumped an astonishing round, with only one fence down, on Antoinette Geoghegan’s highly experienced Westmir Queen (And this wee girl still rides in Starter Stakes!!)
The overall Performance Championship went to Claire Devlin’s Blackwood Fernando, who impressed in gallop with Alicia Devlin Byrne to take the title for the second year running, with Gloster Boy in Reserve.
The climax to the day was the competitive Puissance, for which an enthralled crowd packed the show-grounds. An unprecedented four ponies cleared 1.52m to reach the 5th and final round of the competition. However, only one, Patrick Fortune’s Letermuckoo Lad, with rider Lisa Murphy could clear 1.60m., and claimed the winner’s prize of €1,000. It was quite unbelievable to see this pony and rider clear this jump. Lettermuckoo Lad is an 11 yr. old stallion son of Island Lad and is out of Hilltop Girl. We trust the connections all had a happy trip back to Co. Wexford.
A couple more pictures below. All Photos © Niamh’s Weblog