Daniels delivers first Kilguilkey International win

Galway-born Cathal Daniels topped off a successful June competition campaign with a win in the Global Event Horses CCI4*-S class on the closing day of the Fernhill Sport Horses Kilguilkey International Horse Trials.

Global Event Horses CCI4*-S Winner: Cathal Daniels (LEB Lias Jewel) All Photos: Bit-Media

Marking the twelfth International victory of his career and just the fifth at this level, the 2018 World Equestrian Games team silver medallist came to Co. Cork on the back of a tremendous run of form that included victories at the Tattersalls and Bramham International Horse Trials. A runner-up finish in last year’s feature class left the young rider determined to go one better this time around and he duly delivered with Jo Breheny’s home-bred Irish Sport Horse ‘LEB Lias Jewel.’ One of three rides in the class, Daniels occupied sixth place after dressage with the nine-year-old mare, behind fellow Irish senior high-performance riders Ciaran Glynn (November Night), Sarah Ennis (BLM Diamond Delux) and overnight leader Aoife Clark (Fernhill Adventure). A rail down for Ciaran Glynn in the show-jumping arena on Saturday afternoon moved Daniels up to fourth place on the leaderboard ahead of the cross-country phase on Sunday morning. Course Designer for the 2019 FEI European Eventing Championships in Luhmuhlen (GER), Mike Etherington-Smith has designed the feature track at Kilguilkey for a number of years and he had posed some interesting new questions on the 35 jumping effort course with a 6:15 optimum time. Last out of the start box with ‘LEB Lias Jewel,’ Daniels had the advantage of crossing the country on his previous two horses and having seen time penalties prove influential at the top of the leaderboard, he partnered with his Tattersalls CCIU25 3*-L winner to stop the clock just sixteen seconds over the optimum time; the fastest round of the class. Dressage leader Aoife Clark settled for second place in the final standings with Sarah Ennis taking third.

‘This was the mare’s first step up to four-star level,’ said Daniels, speaking after his win. ‘Kilguilkey is a very special event and the cross country tracks are perfect for stepping horses up to the next level.’

Now in its seventh year, Kilguilkey House has been developed by hosts Danny and Michelle Dulohery to become a core element on the International eventing calendar with riders frequently using the facility as part of their preparations for upcoming European and World championships. The Plusvital CCI3*-S was another hotly contested affair and Australian event rider Kevin McNab successfully defended his title in the class with the Irish Sport Horse ‘Fernhill Tabasco.’ Normally the ride of his wife Emma, the eleven-year-old gelding bred by John Nulty enjoyed success in the CIC3* at Tattersalls last year and was part of the Australian squad at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon (USA) in September. The win saw McNab earn his first points in the 2019 Horse Sport Ireland €10,000 Eventing Challenge;  where riders are vying for league points at Irish International horse trials across the summer in the hope of putting their name on the cheque at the final leg in Ballindenisk, Co. Cork this September. The British-based rider is sure to return to the remaining legs of the series in an effort to take home the bonus for the second consecutive year. Runner-up Sam Watson (Imperial Sky) moves to the top of the leaderboard and the next leg at Camphire International Horse Trials will be hotly contested.   

Plusvital CCI3*-S winner Kevin McNab (AUS) (Fernhill Tabasco) is congratulated by Ciara Watt (Sales Director, Plusvital Ltd.)

Over 260 horses and riders passed through the gates of Kilguilkey this weekend representing nations including Great Britain, Japan, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand. Many of these were competing in the Eventing Ireland CCI2*-S which saw 72 combinations come forward at the start of competition. In the end, Kevin McNab recorded his second victory of the afternoon; this time with Scuderia 1918’s six-year-old Holsteiner gelding ‘Fortune III.’ Lying third after dressage on 27.2 penalties, the combination moved up to take the lead following showjumping penalties incurred by Amanda Goldsbury (Right on Q) and Jessica McIntyre (Sergeant Kiki). A clear round in the deciding Cross Country phase secured victory ahead of Irish riders Adam Haugh (Van Thee Man) and Ella Boyle (WKD Cooley).  

Eventing Ireland CCI2*-L winner Kevin McNab (Fortune III)

The Tredstep Ireland CCIP2-L Pony class was an important step in the selection process for the European Eventing Championships for Ponies which take place in Strzegom (POL) in August. A winner at Ballindenisk International in April, Olivia Swan (Rockon Pedro) recorded the second International victory of her career in the long-format class where the final results were decided in the show-jumping arena on Sunday afternoon. An expensive three rails down for overnight leader Grace Tyrell (Fiona’s Fionn) saw her drop to third place on the final leaderboard, with Tiggy Hancock (Coppenagh Spring Sparrow) setting for second.

Aiden Keogh (Tredstep Ireland) congratulates Olivia Swan (Rockon Pedro) on her win in the CCIP-2L class

Kilguilkey House hosted the first 1.05m FEI level competition in the British Isles in 2018 and a strong entry came forward for this year’s renewal of the Equissentials sponsored class. With Brian Morrison riding four of the twenty-nine horses entered in the competition, he was always likely to dominate proceedings and clear cross-country performances across the board saw the Global Event Horses rider take four of the top five placings (Global Iminnus W, Global Athena, Global Theodorus, Global DHI).

Shannon Tobin (Equissentials) congratulates Brian Morrison on his successes in the CCI1*-Intro

With the conclusion of the international action at Kilguilkey, the venue now focusses on the grass roots level as it prepares to welcome the Duhallow Hunt Pony Club for their annual camp this week, ahead of an Eventing Ireland One Day Event on Sunday 7th July. Many of the riders this weekend will be returning to Kilguilkey later in the year as the venue will once again host the Eventing Ireland National Championships.

Full Results available here.