IN the nicest way possible, one man who got what he deserved at Kilguilkey House last weekend was Richard Ames, title sponsor of the event through his company Semalease and owner of the first and second in the Horse Sport Ireland CCI3*-L, Chance Encounter VII and RCA Royal Summer.
The two were ridden by the USA’s Gillian Beale King, stable-jockey at Ames’s Belline Estate Equestrian in Piltown who was awarded the only sub-30 penalty dressage scores by the ground jury of Poland’s Slawomir Pietrzak and Ireland’s Joan Ahern. However, at this stage, RCA Royal Summer, who was on 28.8, had a point in hand over his stable-companion.
Lying third at this stage was The Quizmaster (31), who is ridden for Ames and other members of the County Down Crew Syndicate by Killyleagh-based Joseph Murphy, while the owner had a stranglehold on the top placings as Beale King was in fourth spot with Ballyvillane OBOS (31.2) who had finished runner-up to Chance Encounter at the Co Cork venue in June when both completed on their dressage scores.
Unfortunately, Ballyvillane OBOS didn’t get to complete on this occasion as, following rain on Saturday, he lost his footing coming down a bank after fence 10, parting company with his rider in the process and failing to finish for the first time in his career.
RCA Royal Summer picked up 3.6 time penalties on his tour of the track and was pushed down into a close second when Chance Encounter was five seconds faster to flip positions with the addition of 1.6 penalties. Having been hit with 6.4 penalties across the country, Murphy and The Quizmaster dropped to fourth on 37.4 behind Britain’s Tom Grant and Tommy Cruise (37).
All four combinations jumped clear on Sunday as did four others. The only rider to go double clear was Ireland’s Ian Cassells who, well off the pace following dressage, finished seventh of the 16 starters with Shanaclough Carmen (43.5).
“It was a lovely event,” said Ames who regards his sponsorship as value for money. “Things had moved up a notch this time with a dedicated owners and sponsors tent, which was well-used, and a smashing hog roast. I got a lot of ‘thank yous’ for the sponsorship and I’m pleased to do it as it’s nice to put something back. Like all other sponsors, you hope that those involved in whatever you sponsor think about your product or products when they are looking to buy or use something in the future.
“It was a great weekend and while the win was a bonus I was delighted with all our horses. I was also pleased for Gillian who, on her first four-star start, finished ninth and 16th with Derena Super Star and Rebeliant. I was pleased too to see Belline Fighting Spirit finish 10th under Joseph in the three-star-long as he is just a seven-year-old.”
Ames bred the nine-year-old Royaldik gelding RCA Royal Summer and he is a longtime owner of the traditionally bred Irish Sport Horse gelding Chance Encounter who was campaigned up to the end of the 2018 season in Britain by New Zealand’s Caroline Power.
By the Irish Draught sire Creevagh Grey Rebel, the CCI3*-L winner was bred in Co Down by Robin Johnston out of the unraced Camedia, dam also of the Limmerick gelding Note Worthy (CCI4*-L). The 1997 Lord Americo mare is a half-sister to, among others, the Presenting gelding Here’s Johnny who won two bumpers, three hurdle races and two chases and was Grade 1-placed over fences.