Galway rider Thomas O’Brien recorded another win in the TRM/Horseware National Grand Prix Series as he led the victory lap at Ballinasloe last Friday (24th July). Riding Connaught Bloodstock’s ten-year-old gelding, Amaretto he took the winner’s share of the €4,000 in the Bourns Sport Horses feature class. This was the second win for the combination having also taking the honours on home soil at Galway Equestrian in June.
By Numero Uno and out of Midnight, Amaretto has proved very consistent for O’ Brien. As well as competing on the national circuit, the combination have also been active on the international circuit, competing in Lisbon CSIO3* in May and prior to this Chantilly CSI2*.
O’Brien said: “It was great to see the National Grand Prix return to Ballinasloe. Hopefully they can build on this for next year. Paul Duffy did a very good job in designing the course and it was an exciting jump-off. Amaretto has been very consistent and I knew that he was really on form on the day. Liam O’ Meara went before me and set a good time, so I had no choice but to go for it. Amaretto turns very well, so I kept it tight all throughout the course. I took a chance in the gallop to the last, thankfully it paid off”.
As expected, Connaught riders were out in force to take the win and they made their presence felt as six of the ten riders in the jump-off were from the region.
First of the ten combinations to take on Paul Duffy’s jump-off course was Damien Griffin. Riding Tabby he proved out of luck as he recorded four faults in 37.88, which kept him out of the top six.
Spectators didn’t have to wait long for the first double clear as next in Liam O’Meara and Mr Coolcaum answered all the questions in 38.81 seconds.
O’Meara’s lead held only temporarily as Thomas O’ Brien’s gallop to the last paid off as he reduced the target to 37.49, leaving O’Meara to take the runner-up spot.
Roisin Fagan didn’t waste any time with Ikan, but despite taking all the tight turns, she failed to demote the leader and her time of 39.32, proved good enough for third.
Noelle Barry also had her eye on the win, but a clear in 41.21 seconds with Norway Venture meant that she finished just behind Fagan in the line-up.
Martin Hynes opted for a safe clear with Galway Brigade and it paid dividends as he crossed the line with nothing to add in 43.92, for fifth place.
Gerard Clarke was just off the winner’s time with Zanzibar in 37.85, but four faults early in the course meant that he had to contend with sixth place.
TRM/Horseware National Grand Prix from Ballinasloe 24th July result.
1st Amaretto/Thomas O’Brien 0/0/37.49
2nd Mr Coolcaum/ Liam O’Meara 0/0/38.81
3rd Ikan/Roisin Fagan 0/0/ 39.32
4th Norway Venture/Noelle Barry 0/0/41.21
5th Galway Brigade/Martin Hynes 0/0/43.92
6th Zanzibar/Gerard Clarke 0/4/37.85