JUDY and Emily McMahon opened the gates of Lambertstown again last Sunday for their Derby Show which, thanks to the efforts also of Emily’s partner, Philip Guckian, and show co-ordinator, Joanne Quirke, proved a resounding success.

There were 384 entries, an increase on last year’s total, while it is reckoned that there were around 100 representatives of the canine world entered in numerous and diverse classes in the Village Vets-sponsored dog show.

Course designer Eugene O’Neill had made substantial changes to some of the more iconic fences in the Derby Arena but the track still proved challenging. The changes made little difference to the Nicola Ennis-ridden Killossery Kitten who, for the second time in three years, landed the Open Derby which was sponsored by Bective Stud Tea Rooms.

Unfortunately, as she was running the finals of their own eventing championships at Killossery Lodge Stud on Sunday, owner/breeder Laura Glynn wasn’t on hand to witness this latest success by her very well-related traditionally bred mare who has 30 Eventing Ireland points.

The seven-year-old bay mare, who is the by Brazilian thoroughbred Mr Big Cat out of the prolific winner producer Killossery Kruisette (by Cruising), most recently finished sixth in the EI115 (Open) national championship at Lisgarvan House. She is competing in the CCI3*-S at Ballindenisk this weekend.

Last outing

Having finished first and second in the EI100 (P) class at Finvoy on Saturday with Ardeo Fireman and Rockon Pedro, Carla Williamson maintained her excellent current strike rate when landing the Novice Derby here on her mother Janet’s Oh Dakota Justice ahead of last year’s winner, Anna Byrne’s Fairyhouse Coco.

Champion working hunter pony at the Dublin Horse Show in August, the 12-year-old Connemara gelding Oh Dakota Justice was bred by the Cashel House Stud in Co Galway. The bay, who is by Rebel Justice out of the Glencairn Surprise mare Ruby Justice, recorded numerous placings when evented at EI90 (P) level by Carla in 2020 but has since been campaigned as a working hunter.

“This has been a class we’ve been longing to win since the McMahons brilliantly revived the Lamberstown Derby show with such great input from Joanne Quirke,” said Janet. “Carla was first to go of about 55 and led from the start; it was a real thrill.

“Sadly, this was their last outing together in Ireland as Carla will be out of age on the pony next year so he will be off to pastures new after the Horse of the Year Show. He’s left no stone unturned for us. He did working hunters and Minimus for Josh and also started Carla on her Eventing Ireland path in 2020 during Covid when so many shows were postponed. He owes us nothing.”

Those two classes were judged by Comdt John Ledingham while the Connemara and Irish Draught classes, which were generously sponsored by the Horse Sport Ireland Breeders Funding, were judged by bloodstock agent and show horse owner Cathy Grassick, chairperson of the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association.

One in a million

Another young rider who has enjoyed a good season is Co Tipperary’s Katie Wyse who won the Connemara Derby on her mother Anna’s Illaunurra Bay. This 11-year-old Castleside JJ Junior gelding, who is out of the Silver Shadow mare Illaunurra Heather, was bred in Co Galway by Pat O’Neill who showed the bay successfully in hand before selling him into England. There, he was broken and first produced by Gaby Horsley. His present connections purchased him at the end of 2019.

“My one dream for ‘Cruz’ this season was to qualify for the Dublin Horse Show which he did, finishing second in the older pony final despite having a pole down. Sunday was our first time in Lambertstown. We had seen the pictures of the RDS finals there last August and decided it was definitely on our hit list for this year. The fences were very full and the track was flowing which Cruz loves. I haven’t seen such a busy show outside of the big ones in a long time. It was a great day out,” said Wyse.

“Cruz and I have had the most amazing season with some wins including the open 153cms workers at Balmoral and the Gold Cup at the summer championships. He will stay with us for another season, he really is one in a million. I have my leaving cert to do so our schedule won’t be too packed until after that, but hopefully we might squeeze in the Northern Ireland Festival in Cavan and then see how the season goes.”

Much admired

The Irish Draught Derby was landed by the much-admired Gneeve King William who was ridden, as usual, by Gowran’s Jenny Williams for her husband Ian. This combination won the older ID performance title at the RDS national championships held in Lamberstown last August.

On Sunday, they topped the line-up ahead of the Liam Lynskey-owned, Hannah Gordon-ridden Moylough Bouncer stallion DS Ballagh Bouncer, who was third in Dublin last month, while the winner that day at the RDS, the Laura Snow-ridden Drynam Hero, a stallion by Gortfree Hero, finished third on this occasion.

“I was delighted with this win which was a great end to the season at a great show in a fantastic venue,” said Williams. “We only did a handful of shows this year and really had a great season. We won the ridden and performance ID classes at Balmoral in May while at Tattersalls we won the amateur championship, qualified for the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead next year and were reserve in the Red Mills amateur final for which we qualified when reserve in the ridden horse championship at Kilbride.

“‘Noble’ was let out for a break after Sunday and the plan is to hunt him in the New Year. Next season, we’ll hopefully head back to Balmoral, travel over to the RIHS and then do the workers at Dublin. The only downside to our showing campaign now is that fact that we cannot compete in the RDS performance draught qualifiers.”