THE Leinster Region of Dressage Ireland rounded off its spring/summer league at a two-day show over the weekend of August 13th and 14th at Redhills Stud.

John Gavin claimed two of the four titles, winning the Preliminary league on his four-year-old home-bred Irish Sport Horse gelding Holywell Contender (by Contendro I out of Skreenmor Dancer, by Crosstown Dancer) and Elementary league on the Jacinta O’Donoghue-bred six-year-old ISH gelding Holywell Spark (by Cobra out of Oneforthenotebook, by Contador).

Victoria O’Carroll topped the leaderboard in the Novice league with her Dutch Warmblood mare Laguna, a six-year-old chesnut by Valdez. Only two combinations made enough appearances to count at Medium level where Ella Rose Maher claimed the honours on the Dutch-bred New Forest gelding McFlurry (by Spoekedammetjes Nick out of Kantjes Deandra) ahead of regional secretary Lorna O’Hare and her 14-year-old chesnut gelding, DBS Second Chance.

A second chance is exactly what has been given by Myriam Bünter to the former racehorse Star Of Rubykan on whom she finished a close-up second in both the Preliminary and Novice Championships. In so doing, Bünter was presented with the Treo Eile award for the highest-placed thoroughbred over the league.

Myriam was well acquainted with thoroughbreds prior to acquiring Star Of Rubykan as, on moving from Switzerland to Ireland in 2012, she brought with her the Roakarad gelding Noakarad who ran five times in his native France before continuing his racing career in the Czech Republic. Myriam competed the grey both in Switzerland and in Ireland but the 21-year-old has since been retired to a farm not far from his owner’s home in south Kildare.


“It was in 2018, when I knew Noakarad had to be retired, that I began looking for another thoroughbred,” revealed Bünter. “I called in to a local yard where they try out ex-racehorses to see if they can be retrained and asked if there was anything suitable and was shown Star Of Rubykan.

“There was a lot of snow around at the time but I hacked him away and then took him to The Field for a bit of jumping and decided to buy him.

“I did a bit of Riding Club and unaffiliated eventing with him and some registered jumping up to a metre but we have since found our discipline in dressage. I keep him with Lorna at Dunbyrne Stud and am a member of Dunbyrne Riding Club.”

At the Association of Irish Riding Clubs’ national dressage championships at Barnadown in early August, the combination were fourth in the Novice Championship and, along with O’Hare and DBS Second Chance, were members of the Dunbyrne squad who finished third in the team competition.

Myriam and Star Of Rubykan have qualified for Dressage Ireland’s upcoming national championships which, too, are taking place at Barnadown.

“The judges really liked him at the Winter Championships so I hope it will be the same at the Nationals. Lorna and I have already planned our weekend and my partner, Adrian Hyland, will be there as well as he is a huge help as groom.”

Star Of Rubykan had a short track career for Co Kilkenny trainer Eoin Griffin, finishing last of 23 and 15th of 16 in Punchestown and Kilbeggan bumpers in the spring of 2017 and, following a 165-day break, was ninth of 15 at Thurles that October on his third and final start.

The nine-year-old Arakan gelding was bred by John Joe Shaughnessy out of the Accordion mare Ryehill Lady whose 2010 gelding, Western Rules (by Westerner), won two bumpers, three hurdle races and a chase for the Nicky Richards yard. This is the family of the very successful blacktype performers Caim Hill, Theatre Guide and Black Apalachi.

The Leinster Region is running a very well-supported show tomorrow at CoilÓg where nine judges have been booked to assess tests in five arenas. It will be the last day for riders to record qualifying scores for the National Championships at Barnadown (September 23rd to 25th).