Ger O’Neill took the final victory of the season in the TRM/Horseware National Grand Prix League. Riding Sharon Fitzpatrick’s Cavalino, O’Neill closed the curtain on the Irish Breeders Classic Show at Barnadown EC when triumphing in Sunday’s €4,000 feature class, sponsored by Equine International Shipping.
Drawn in the latter half of a six horse decider, O’Neill was one of only three double clear rounds and found the fastest route home when logging a time of 38.74 seconds. The 13-year-old German-bred Cavalino was sourced by O’Neill in Germany and has been campaigned all season by Susan Fitzpatrick. The pair represented Ireland at the Junior European Championships in Austria.
O’Neill may have taken the top spot on Sunday but it was Darryl Walker who was crowned as National Grand Prix Champion. Walker, ahead by a good margin heading into the final round, ensured no-one was coming within striking distance of the title when taking the runner-up position on the day.
Partnering the ever reliable Cushions, Walker had the tactical advantage as the final rider in the jump-off and posted a time of 42.24. The nine-year-old Flex-A-Bill-sired mare has been remarkably consistent throughout the season with three outright victories and numerous placings seeing her awarded the title of leading horse.
Walker commented, “I’m absolutely overwhelmed to win. I knew I was ahead on points but Vincent Byrne is so competitive I thought he would pull it out of the bag at the last minute. I was really fortunate that I had a good day.”
Edward Doyle had supplied the first clear round of the day, breaking the beams in 48.80 with the Diamant de Semilly-sired Chirroko M which held for eventual third place in the line-up.
2015 National Champion Alexander Butler was the fastest of the four faulters with Vimminka, home in 40.35 fractionally faster than northern rider Peter Smyth who stopped the clock at 40.79 aboard Cavalier Rusticana.
Sameh El Dahan had played pathfinder around the shortened and raised course with WKD Diva and set a blistering pace of 39.19 but slipped down the placings when incurring eight faults.
TRM/Horseware National Grand Prix League Final Barnadown Equestrian 6th September 2015 Result
Sponsored by Equine International Shipping
- 1. Ger O’Neill Cavalino 0/0 38.74
- 2. Darryl Walker Cushions 0/0 42.24
- 3. Edward Doyle Chirroko M 0/0 48.80
- 4. Alexander Butler Vimminka 0/4 40.35
- 5. Peter Smyth Cavalier Rusticana 0/4 40.79
- 6. Sameh El Dahan WKD Diva 0/8 39.19
2015 TRM/Horseware National Grand Prix League Winner – Darryl Walker