Watson wins at Kilguilkey

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Ireland’s Sam Watson took victory in the Haygain CIC*** at the Fernhill Sport Horses Kilguilkey International Horse Trials having led from the outset.

Declan Cullen congratulates Sam Watson (Horseware Bushman) - Haygain CIC3* Winner - Fernhill Sport Horses Kilguilkey International 2016
Declan Cullen congratulates Sam Watson (Horseware Bushman) – Haygain CIC3* Winner – Fernhill Sport Horses Kilguilkey International 2016

The Carlow-based rider took the lead in the dressage with his legendary 17-year-old home-bred gelding Horseware Bushman with a score of 43.6, and followed this up with a clear round in the show jumping, where more than half of competitors incurred jumping or time faults.

The inaugural CIC*** competition ran over a cross country course designed by Mike Etherington-Smith which utilised the undulations of Kilguilkey Farm and featured thirty-five natural fences. The track proved hugely successful although the time proved to be influential – with no rounds coming home inside the optimum time.

Sam and Horseware Bushman added just 6.8 time penalties a cross country phase to complete on a score of 50.4 – five penalties clear of the second placed combination.

Watson has partnered Horseware Bushman to the highest level of eventing over an international career that spans ten years. Speaking after his win this afternoon he said he has no plans for retiring yet.

Sam Watson (Horseware Bushman) - Haygain CIC3* Winner - Fernhill Sport Horses Kilguilkey International 2016
Sam Watson (Horseware Bushman) – Haygain CIC3* Winner – Fernhill Sport Horses Kilguilkey International 2016

Joseph Murphy made his journey from Co. Down worthwhile by finishing second with DHI Top Story while Rebecca Dunlea recorded one of her biggest international results to date by taking third spot with her own Cashelane Captain.

The event marked the first time Haygain has sponsored a major eventing competition, but the world leaders in hay steaming are looking to increase their involvement in the sport in future. Haygain commented; “We were delighted to sponsor the inaugural CIC*** at Kilguilkey International Horse Trials. After a successful foray into event sponsorship our long term strategy is to increase our involvement in the sport and we look forward to supporting more events in future.”

In the Eventing Ireland CIC** competition, the final result came down to the wire. Last year’s winner and the leader after dressage and show jumping, Michael Ryan thought he had done enough with Ballylynch Adventure to retain the lead, but the 2.4 time penalties he incurred across the country proved costly as he dropped down to second place.

This allowed Felicity Ward, who recorded a double clear jumping performance, to take the win with The Illusionist. Wexford rider Maria Byrne finished in third place with her father Paddy Byrnes’ ‘Class Affair.’

Felicity Ward (The Illusionist) - Eventing Ireland CIC2* Winner - Fernhill Sport Horses Kilguilkey International 2016
Felicity Ward (The Illusionist) – Eventing Ireland CIC2* Winner – Fernhill Sport Horses Kilguilkey International 2016

The cross country phase of the Horsezone.co.uk CIC* proved extremely influential with the top of the leaderboard changing considerably. The leaderboard after dressage and show jumping was dominated by pony riders, vying to impress team selector Becky Cullen ahead of this year’s FEI European Championships for Ponies.

Dressage leader Lucy Hancock and Corries Whiskey found themselves demoted to second place after a rail down in the show jumping arena, promoting Jennifer Kuehnle and Penyffynon Ricoche into the lead after two phases.

However, a problem early on in the cross country course saw this pair drop out of contention. However, she went on to take the title with Scattery Katie, climbing six places on the leaderboard. Neil Morrison recorded a clear round across the country to finish in second with Black Ice while Felicity Ward recorded her second podium finish taking third with Ballinahinch Jack.

2016 marked the fourth running of the Fernhill Sport Horses Kilguilkey International Horse Trials and at the prize giving ceremony, riders and visiting officials from seven nations remarked on the continuous developments and upgrading of the Co. Cork venue into a top class international equestrian facility.

Organisers and landowners, Danny and Michelle Dulohery are extremely grateful for the support of new sponsors Haygain and Horsezone.co.uk, together with Eventing Ireland and a long list of fence sponsors, contributors and supporters.

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