It was a good day in the office for Francis Connors as he took the honours yesterday (Thursday 14th July) in the Horseware/TRM Grand Prix at Bannow & Rathangan aboard Lates Du Carel. On form, Connors demonstrated his talent as he also took the runnerup prize with Bobby Flynn’s Hyperion, and as a result took home the lion’s share of the €5,000 in the Jim Bolger sponsored class. This is the second consecutive win for the Waterford rider in the last week, having won the Premier Series in Cork on Sunday with Erne Ladygoldilocks.
A nine year old mare, Lates Du Carel is owned by Hilda Anthony and has been campaigned by Connors from a fiveyearold. By Harlequin du Carel and out of the Kalypso sired mare, Phillies Corner, the mare already boasts an impressive record, qualifying for the Dublin Horse Show as a five year old and as a six year old. As a seven year old the pairing also competed in Lanaken. So far this year they have put points on the overall leaderboard when finishing third at Charleville Show and Galway County.
Connors said; I am delighted with the result today, coming first and second was not what I expected. The horses were absolutely super in the jumpoff. Bannow & Rathangan has always been a lucky show for me. I have been jumping here for many years and I have won quite a few Grand Prix’s down here.
“My other horse Hyperion also performed really well and it is great to have him back in such good form. He has had a good week, finishing third at the Munster Stadium Jumping last week and he will soon be ready to step up to Premier Series”.
As in previous years, Bannow & Rathangan proved to be a real hit with spectators as they flocked to the main arena to watch the top class showjumping action. On duty, James Tarrant designed a fair track for the 29 combinations and of those; ten proceeded to the jump off course.
First to take it on, Nicholas Connors proved out of luck when faulting at the midway point with with Lantino 31 in 45.68, which later denied him a place in the top six.
Gorey rider Deirdre Doyle an BLM Authentic Diamond delivered the first double clear in 51.75 to take the lead and then eventual fifth place.
Doyle had done enough to put the pressure on, but her lead held only temporarily as Francis Connors riding Hyperion lowered the target to 39.69.
Next up, Eddie Moloney negotiated a similar approach as Connors with Boncouver, but he seemed to loose some time in the turn back to fence eight and as a result stopped the clock in 42.99, which failed to demote Connors and later proved good enough for eventual fourth.
Clearly up for the challenge, fellow Waterford native Paddy O’ Donnell set off strong with Minority Report. Donnell was well up on target at the midway point, but a risky tight turn back to to the third last cost him as he faulted at this point. O’Donnell wasn’t too disappointed however as his time of 36.78 saw him slot into sixth place.
With just two left to go, Francis Connors returned with Lates Du Carel. Setting off in a determined pace Connors kept it tight and a clear in 38.60 was enough for him to lower his own target and demoted his first horse Hyperion into second place.
Last to go, Ger O’ Neill was keen to add points to his leaderboard score as he took to the track with Eamonn Murphy’s stallion Dondoctro Ryal K. Setting off in a calculated pace, O’Neill negotiated a series of tight turns, despite a good attempt however he crossed the line with nothing to add in 39.91 for third place.
Horseware/TRM Grand Prix at Bannow & Rathangan
Sponsored by Jim Bolger
1st Lates Du Carel/ Francis Connors 0/0 38.60
2nd Hyperion/ Francis Connors 0/0 39.69
3rd Dondoctro Ryal K/ Ger O’ Neill 0/0 39.91
4th Boncouver/ Eddie Moloney 0/0 42.99
5th BLM Authentic Diamond/ Deirdre Doyle 51.75
6th Minority Report/ Paddy O’ Donnell 0/4 36.78