The In-Hand class numbers at the Midland Breeders 8th Annual Show seemed to be slightly down on last year’s record entries, partly due perhaps to the early-morning rain and the dismal weather forecast. But the quality of ponies in the 2 Showing rings remained at the usual high standard and by early afternoon the clouds had happily given way to sunshine and warmth and ponies and handlers at the Mullingar Equestrian Centre venue looked much brighter. Some, but alas not all, of the action was caught on camera by Niamhs Weblog and the Ridden Classes down the hill never got a look in at all this year. We start with the Junior Championship, having sadly missed the earlier young stock classes which were judged by Nicola Musgrave.
The Junior Championship honours and Mick McMenamon Trophy went to Sean Dunne’s home-bred 3 year old bay filly, Garryhinch Swallow (Monaghanstown Boy-Coosheen Cuckoo) This filly has Coosheen Finn and Village Bellein her back breeding so is bound to have a successful career ahead of her.
For Noel Nee the long drive in the rain from west Connemara was worthwhile when Mairtin Nee’s 2yr. old colt added to his recent wins and Doonreaghan Marty (Coolillaun Cushlaun- Doonreaghan Star) was awarded Reserve Junior Champion. Among the many Western contenders was to go journey happily home was Damian Gorham whose prolific prize-winner, Doonhill Queen (Currachmore Cashel-Connemara Lady) took the Red Rosette in the 4-6 yr. Mare Class.
Bridge Boy and Boden Park Finnard both feature in oonhill Queen’s background. There was a field of 14 entries in this class and Galway’s Grace Murphy was pleased when her German import, the 5yr old Thiergartenhof’s Larissa (Skousbou Morning Rock-Lilly)was pulled in 2nd in the final lineup.
Lauren Hall with her mother’s Glenvalley Gold (Coral Prince-Glen Lady 2nd) was judged the best Young Handler.
Six imposing stallions came before Judge Jimmy Canavan in Ring 2 and his 1st choice to take the Abbeyleix Fionn Trophy was Cathy Snow Coyne’s Moorland Snowy River, (Laerkens Cascade Dawn-Easter Trixie). This home-bred stallion has been sweeping all before him in Show- rings across Ireland this year in the capable hands of Martin Coyne.
Joanne Grogan’s Mountain Cascade also by Laerkens Cascade Dawn and out of Jarlath Grogan’s Mountain Lady, must have a stablefull full of rosettes and trophies at home in Claremorris and he was a close runner-up in this class.
In the Class for Mares aged 7-10 it was Malachy Gorham,s Lemonfield Lass (Moy Hazy Cove – Tuam Lass) who was called in First to take the Huntstown Stud Trophy for JoJo Gorham. But more was to follow.
Dundalk breeder Deirdre O’Reilly took the 11 and older Mares Class with her perennial favourite Glenmore Kellys Owen (Abbeyleix Owen – Gentian Gold)
The Abbeyleix prefix appeared again in the All-Ireland Broodmare Championship where the Lady de Vesci Perpetual Trophy is presented each year in honour of the late founder of the Abbeyleix line of Connemara ponies, whose descendents are found worldwide. It was fortuitous that Tom de Vesci, the only surviving member of the family currently in Ireland where he has recently re-located, was on hand to present his mother’s Cup. Lady de Vesci bred many prize-winning mares in the late nineteen sixties and seventies and it is just possible that Tom may pick up the breeding interest where she left off.
The proud winner of the Broodmare Championship 2011 was Sinéad Lusby – McGrath with her home-bred Lucky Hazel (Mac Owen –Lucky Anna). This same 13 yr old mare, with perfect broodmare conformation as well as bone and substance, has been doubly- lucky for the McGraths as she had won this Broodmare Championship two years ago at Annaharvey as well as being Supreme at Roundstone and well placed at major Shows. At her only other outing so far this year she took the Corrandulla Championship and qualified there for both the All-Ireland and Dublin, so look out Dublin!. She has both Abbeyleix Owen and Abbeyleix Fionn in her bloodline making her an appropriate winner of the Abbeyleix Trophy.
In Reserve spot was an earlier prizewinner in the day and many times a Champion also, the O’Reilly’s Glenmore Kelly’s Owen. Faced with the onerous task of plucking winners from this 20 strong Class of Champions were two well-known Connemara breeders, Lady Hemphill of the Tulira Stud and Nina Gustafson of the of the Lofty Stud in Sweden. They were later joined by Judge Micheal Higgins to decide on the Supreme Champion of the Show.
Malachy Gorham’s Lemonfield Lass was the Judges’ Choice to take the Supreme Accolade. Shown by Malachy’s brother JoJo Gorham, this 9yr old mare has bred 5 foals for the Gorham family at Kingstown, as well as taking 1st and 2nd prizes at Clifden. She was bred by Tuam’s Pat Walsh and purchased as a youngster by Kingstown Stud founder Joe Gorham. After the long drive back to Clifden and then north to Kingstown, JoJo and Lemonfield Lass, along with the substantial Tom Fahey trophy, deserved a terrific welcome home.
For Books info. go to WWW.MARNE.IE