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Showjumpers thrilled to get back in the saddle at last

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Organiser James Kernan

Organiser James Kernan

SPORTSFILE

Organiser James Kernan

The NI Executive has been officially thanked by Horsesport Ireland CEO Ronan Murphy for permitting the restart of showjumping competitions on July 11, opening with the Grand Prix weekend at Kernan Equestrian, Crossmaglen.

Showjumping Ireland were also praised for liaising with the relevant NI bodies, including the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, to ensure a safe return to competition.

Lower Ballinderry rider Luke Campbell, who won Sunday's 1m 20 class with Newmarket Trooper, was also runner up in the Ulster Region Grand Prix on Corlioni.

He said: "I am delighted with the horse, and the track was brilliant. I had five horses here, it was great to get out after lockdown. I spent a lot of time doing roadwork, field time and breaking horses over the past months and it paid off.

"The new system of re-entering, the one way system to and from the arena, strict timings went like clockwork."

Ten riders were clear from 34 starters in the Ulster Region Grand Prix staged on the new Frank Kernan Sand arena, where Capt Geoff Curran on Dowth Hall took the honours with fastest time of 35.86. Luke Campbell was close behind with Corlioni for second in 36.96, while Simon Scott was third and fourth on Jasmine Tide and Ploverfield Lilyana.

Organiser James Kernan said: "We have had great reports from the riders on our new arena and this opening apres lockdown show has been a major success."

Portadown's Abby Morton and Blueoak Yogi overhauled Jason Patterson with ABF Kilderg to win the 1.10m event, while Grace Sheridan on Superior Spring won the 1m class event.

Banbridge based Rebecca McGoldrick, who trains with Dermott Lennon, claimed the 1m 40 Underwriting Exchange Grand Prix ahead of Francis Derwin Junior on MHS Fernhill Showtime. There were also wins for John Floody (1m 30), Beverley Irwin (1m 20) and Suzanne Poznett (1m 10).

Meanwhile, Dromore rider John McEntee (17) excelled in Galway to win the first leg of the seven year old Irish Sporthorse studbook event on the Marion Hughes, owned HHS Vancouver.

He explained: "I had a great start to the season with Vancouver, who has been in the world championships for young horses as a five-and-six-year-old in Lanaken. My next show is at Barnadown for the studbook series and jumping also on the Irish National Grand Prix circuit this year."

Belfast Telegraph