Captain Geoff Curran dominated in the third leg of the TRM/Horse Sport Ireland New Heights Champions Series with a one-two victory in the €10,000 feature class at Ballinasloe Showgrounds today (Sunday).
Paul Duffy designed the course for the 39 starters which yielded 16 combinations through to the timed decider. Only five of these would manage to keep a clean sheet on their second outing.
The decisive victory came with Curran setting an unbeatable target of 41.63 seconds aboard Hallowberry Cruz while also well clear of the pack in the runner-up position was Shannondale Rahona, clocking 41.84.
The leading owner prize of the Tipperary Crystal engraved vase and bottle of champagne went to joint owners Caroline Byrne and the Minister for Defence while Curran’s groom Barry Keogh received the €200 for the groom of the winning horse.
Bred by Caroline Byrne, Hallowberry Cruz is by Cruising out of the Clover Hill-sired dam Calcutta Clover. A new mount to Curran this season, the 12yo stallion has been on form of late. Today’s result came off the back of a runner-up finish in the two star Grand Prix at Balmoral Show, while the pair have also been active in the New Heights Champions Series round at Portmore E.C.
Shannondale Rahona, always a dependable mount for Curran, has proven consistent in the New Heights Champions Series. Taking a top ten finish in Portmore E.C, the 12-year-old Shannondale Sarco St. Ghyvan Z-sired mare also featured highly in the Meadows opening round when securing sixth place.
While Curran proved well out in front in the jump-off Nicholas Butler made it closest to his time. Riding Vimminka, Butler came home in a time of 43.71 to claim third place in the line-up. The overall runner-up in the 2017 New Heights Champions Series, Butler featured consistently throughout with the 16-year-old Nabab de Reve-sired Vimminka and this season the pair have already shown similar form with a runner-up finish in Portmore.
Liam O’Meara proved just off this pace when recording a time of 45.46 with Russel Style while supplying the only other double clear round on the day was Francis Connors and Erne Ladygoldilocks, completing in a time of 47.62.
Darragh Ryan rounded out the line-up as the fastest four faulter. Paired with the nine-year-old O.B.O.S Quality 004-sired Deep Pockets, Ryan put in a very fast round to cross the finish line in 41.62 but proved out of luck with a single fence down.
TRM/Horse Sport Ireland New Heights Champions Series Ballinsloe Show 27th May 2018 Result
1st: Captain Geoff Curran, Hallowberry Cruz (0,0-41.63)
2nd: Captain Geoff Curran, Shannondale Rahona (0,0-41.84)
3rd: Nicholas Butler, Vimminka (0,0-43.71)
4th: Liam O’Meara, Russel Style (0,0-45.46)
5th: Francis Connors, Erne Ladygoldilocks (0,0-47.62)
6th: Darragh Ryan, Deep Pockets (0,4-41.62)
7th: Alexander Butler, Eldorado (0,4-42.19)
8th: Ger O’Neill, Dondoctro Ryal K (0,4-42.28)
9th: Darragh Ryan Rincoola Rua (0,4-43.39)
10th: Max O’Reilly Hyland (0,4-47.80)
Winning Owner(Crystal Vase and champagne): Caroline Byrne and Minister for Defence
Winning Groom (€200 cash):Barry Keogh