The Causeway Coast Community Showjumpers were favoured with ideal conditions for their closing Show of the Spring season, a two day affair last Saturday and Sunday.
The action got underway on Saturday with a keenly contested two phase 90cm class with 33 entries forward.
Going early in the class south Derry girl Claire Spillane-Pattison set a scorching time against the clock which defied all of her challengers.
Class 2 at 1 metre was equally keenly contested with 34 entries and this class went to the popular Newtownards rider Helen Pearson-Murray on the very speedy Cyran Buttercup from the evergreen Philip White on Redwood Humphries.
Class 3 at 1.10 metres saw 34 entries forward and after a most exciting jump off victory went by a fraction of a second to local farrier Lee Johnston riding his own Democrat from J. O’Hara riding Mrs McLaughlin’s useful Shanvey Diamond.
Class 4 at 1.20 metres saw the beginning of an unique family double at the Show when young Jonathan Smyth from Victoria Bridge took the winner’s rosette riding Twenty Four Main Street owned by Mr Willie Craig, a popular and wellknown rider of yesteryear in the north west.
The first day of the Show ended on a high note with a 1.30 metres class which was won by Richard Smyth from Victoria Bridge riding his own Charlton Clio to complete the family double. The Smyth family have been wellknown in Irish Showjumping for many years.
Early morning drizzle and overcast skies which quickly gave way to bringht Spring sunshine greeted the early arrivals for the second day of the Show.
The first Class was the Sportsman’s final at 80 cms for which 17 had qualified from earlier Shows in Portrush.
This was a two phase event and produced some exciting fare.
Young Aoife Carr riding Mrs Eavan White’s Kaleidoscope in view of earlier season performances was installed as favourite and she did not disappoint.
The winner in this class was awarded the Norrie Roulston trophy. In second place, some fractions of a second behind, was Aghadowey rider Joanne Nevin riding her own Fiachra.
Miss Carr is a prominent member of the Route Hunt Branch of the Pony Club and previously was a member of the Club’s Pony Club Games Team which won the N I Championship. She is also a talented athlete and a champion track runner.
The second Class on the Sunday was a 1 metre event for which there was 24 entries.
This class was won in some style by the veteran local rider and Master of the Route Hunt Mr Philip White riding Mrs Julie Smyth’s Redwood Humphries.
This combination have been virtually unbeatable in Portrush all season. Redwood Humphries is hunted by his owner with the Route Hunt during the season where she acts as whip.
The third Class on Sunday was at 1.20 metres and with 28 entries forward some exciting jumping was witnessed by the large number of spectators who by this time had taken up all the vantage points surrounding this unique arena. The win went to the Donegal rider Simon Scott on Mr Aiden McGrory’s Chas Diva from Omagh girl Jenny Rankin on Mr Desmond McFadden’s Mr Easy Street.
The fourth Class of the day was the second leg of the Blue Grass Grand Prix series with 28 riders running for the £1,000 prize fund.
This was the first Gran Prix event awarded to the Causeway Coast Community Showjumpers and what a thrilling event it turned out to be. Local man and International Course Designer Brian Henry came on board to build the course for this event.
Brian has vast international experience both as a rider and course designer and had the advantage of having designed the Bowl arena in Portrush as a showjumping venue some 27 years ago.
Speaking before the class his aim was to entertain the many spectators present, to educate the many young riders taking part and to find a worthy winner.
He scored on all three objectives, the winner of the class was the Egyptian International rider Mr El Dahan riding Mrs Joanne Allen’s Wild Card with young Donegal rider Kennert Graham in second place on Mr Edmund Simpson’s Rolo Tomasi and in third place was Ballymena rider Paul Caves riding Quenten.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable day’s showjumping and the consequences of opinion from owners and riders was that this should be an annual event.
The organisers would very much like to thank all the regular officials who work so hard to bring showjumping in Portrush to the high profile it now enjoys.
Thanks is also due to the Lodge Hotel, Coleraine, Lynas Food and Catering Supplies, Coleraine, Ballyrashane Creamery, Coleraine, the Quay’s Bar and Restaurant in Portrush, Richmond Feed and Tack Shop, Ballyrashane for their very generous sponsorship without which an event of this magniture could not take place.