Thomastown & District Riding Club had an impressive winning margin over their opposition when they won the Connolly’s Red Mills Team Championship at the AIRC National Dressage Championships last Sunday.
The winning team of Jo Forde (Bluelake Richard), Jade Douglas (Carrigbeg Coco) Caroline Carey (Stonehavens Olive) and Aine Nolan (Persian Knight) finished on a total of 438.29% to claim the title.
With the best three scores counting from the two rounds, Caroline Carey was undoubtedly the star performer as the Gowran resident produced the highest scoring test of the competition of 78.95% on Stonehavens Olive in her morning test. Her afternoon test was equally impressive as she scored 75.50%.
Jade Douglas wasn’t far off the mark either as Carrigbeg Coco, a seven year old brown mare, registered a score of 77.83% in the morning and this was followed with the teams highest score of the afternoon of 75.95%.
Club secretary Gillian Hennessey said, “We set out earlier this year to concentrate a little more on our dressage and to say we reached that goal is amazing. To qualify and get to compete at the final just goes to show that hard work does pays off. The team worked so hard and all their efforts paid off. We are thrilled with our win.”
A record-equalling number of teams sought qualification for this year’s final as 83 teams took part in nine regional qualifiers, the same number as last year which was an increase of over 40% since the new qualification format was introduced in 2013.
The Arderin team of Denise Troy (Lowertown Miss Elsie), Caroline Purcell (Delilah KH), John Purcell (Glenbars French Connection) and Tina Goodenough (Merton Hall Lass )were next best in second place on a score of 422.76%.
The Offaly club had almost 3% to spare over the Mosstown team of Emer O’Donnell (Mosstown Todd), Sarah Phelan (Addrigoole Lightening Jack), Eilis McLoughlin (First Man Lara) and Lesley Fitzgerald (Amhac Ni Ri) who finished on 419.87%.
The three-member team from the Coole Lane club in Carlow narrowly missed on a podium finish on 418.89% in fourth place while last year’s winners, Ashbrook, had to settle for fifth place on 416.21%.
Kerry Riding Club completed the line up on 413.92%.