Watson leads the way at Kilguilkey

Sam Watson heads the Haygain CIC*** leaderboard at the Fernhill Sport Horses Kilguilkey International Horse Trials following the conclusion of the first two phases today. A flawless performance in the dressage and showjumping arenas put the Carlow-based rider in poll position at the end of Day One with his legendary 17 year old home-bred Puissance gelding ‘Horseware Bushman (ISH-TIH).’ Cork rider Rebecca Dunlea lies in second place with ‘Cashelane Captain’ while Joseph Murphy holds on to third place overnight.


Sam Watson (pictured here with son Archie) is the overnight leader in the Haygain CIC3* ahead of the Cross Country phase on Sunday.

Sam Watson (pictured here with son Archie) is the overnight leader in the Haygain CIC3* ahead of the Cross Country phase on Sunday. (Photo: Tadhg Ryan / Bit-Media)

In the Eventing Ireland CIC** competition, last year’s winner, Michael Ryan lies in front with Carol and Tom Henry’s ‘Ballylynch Adventure (ISH).’ Second place is held at the moment by local rider Felicity Ward with ‘The Illusionist’ while Meath’s Sarah Ennis pole down in the showjumping arena dropped her to third place after dressage and showjumping with Breda Kennedy’s ‘Woodcourt Garrison.’


The Horsezone.co.uk CIC* leaderboard is dominated by pony riders, vying to impress team selector Becky Cullen ahead of this year’s FEI European Championships for Ponies. Offaly-based Jennifer Kuehnle tops the class after dressage and showjumping with Hans Kuehnle’s ‘Penyffynon Richochet.’ Kuehnle also lies in third place with Rafael Sanctuary’s ‘Scattery Katie.’ The dressage leader Lucy Hancock (Corries Whiskey) found herself demoted to second place overnight after a rail down in the showjumping arena. Last year’s CIC* winner Fraser Duffy finds himself the highest ranked horse rider in the class, holding on to fifth place with Carol Gee’s Lismore Rock a Bill.


Tomorrow, the focus turns to the cross-country course; where all eyes will be on the all-new CIC*** track designed by former Olympic and World Games designer Mike Etherington-Smith. The course takes a new route through the undulating Kilguilkey Farm and features thirty five natural fences including banks, ditches, logs and water. The track has a good cover of grass and the ground has been aerovated to ensure perfect going.


Now in its fourth year, the event is continuing to develop and the organisers are delighted to have Carol Gee of Fernhill Sport Horses on board once again as title sponsor. The upgrade to CIC3* has seen a considerable investment in the facilities at Kilguilkey House and Danny and Michelle Dulohery are extremely grateful for the support of new sponsors Haygain and Horsezone.co.uk, together with Eventing Ireland and a long list of fence sponsors, contributors and supporters.

The Cross Country phase gets underway at Kilguilkey House at 10am tomorrow with the feature CIC*** class. Live audio streaming will be available online for those not able to be at the event and results will also be published at regular intervals.