Gain/Alltech National Grand Prix Kernans EC \ Róisín Sheridan

THERE were plenty of reasons to celebrate in the Campbell household last weekend; just one week his fiancée Amber Walsh gave birth to their son Teddy, Luke won the sixth round of the 1.40m Gain/Alltech National Grand Prix league at Kernan’s Equestrian Centre.

Riding David Campbell’s 10-year-old gelding Derryinver Truffle (Tornesch - Cruising), the Co Antrim rider proved best in the eight-way jump-off to secure the win in the Plusvital-sponsored class.

Luke Campbell said: “We’re absolutely delighted, it’s like everything just fell into place this week. The horse is owned by David Campbell who only lives about 10 minutes away from me. He sends me his young horses to break in, I actually broke Derryinver Truffle for him and then he went to another rider for a while before coming back to me as a seven-year-old.

“He’s relatively new to the 1.40m/1.50m scene but he’s handling it really well. He was very consistent at 1.30m, winning and placing in several classes, so last year we decided to move him up.

“He’s a big horse, about 18hh, but he’s so easy-going that everyone can ride him. My fiancée Amber, Hazel who works with me, they all can handle him no problem. He’s happy being ridden out in the forest or down to the beach. Nothing fazes him.

“He’s very fast. Because of his size he has a big stride but he turns like a pony. On Sunday I think we made up the time from fences two to three. It’s great because he can keep moving all the time through the turns and then he had a great run to the last. I could let him gallop down to it because he’s so careful. The plan now is to keep going with the National and Premier leagues and then, when that’s over, maybe head away for some shows.”

Competitive action

Some 27 combinations lined out for the class. Of these just eight managed to keep a clean sheet to progress to the timed decider.

Campbell proved fastest of these, stopping the clock at 36.54 to secure the top prize. Fellow Antrim rider Shannon Robinson took the runner-up spot partnering Joy Robinson’s 13-year-old Chardonnay (Diarado - Calato) to a clear in 38.35 seconds. Galway’s Olive Clarke and GBBS International’s nine-year-old Ballerina Girl DVO Z earned their first Grand Prix placing when breaking the beam in 39.79 for third place.

Edward Doyle and Lisa Cawley’s Chacco Bay (Chacco Blue - Flexible) delivered the last of the double clears in a time of 41.17 to claim fourth.

Fifth went to John Floody and Accidental Diamond (Diamond Roller - High Roller) who had the fastest time of the day in 35.71, but with one fence down for four faults. Nicole Kershaw riding Lotus Van T Nachtegalehof competed the line-up in sixth place.

James Kernan thanked sponsors PlusVital (1.40m), Dunlop Homes (1.35m), Harry Marshall (1.10m) and Gary Marshall (1m). The next round takes place today (Saturday) in Wexford with the eighth round in Castle Irvine tomorrow.