The 2017 Connolly’s RED MILLS Spring Tour is well underway, with six of the 14 league rounds already completed before St Patrick’s weekend.
The action got underway at JAG Equestrian in Co Kildare on February 12th, where Sven Hadley came out on top with Sumas Taloubet in a tight contest which saw less than a second separate the top four finishers. Damien Griffin took runner-up spot with Tabby, while Jennifer Keuhnle came home in third spot with Ballistic.
A week later, the Connolly’s RED MILLS Spring Tour moved to Cavan Equestrian Centre where once again Sven Hadley and the 12-year-old gelding Sumas Taloubet took the winners prize. Shannon McKenzie slotted into second with Ben Lady Lux, while Tholm Keane and Delano W finished third.
Tipperary’s Liam O’Meara, who has won the Connolly’s RED MILLS Spring tour title for the last two years, scored his first win of the season at Ravesdale on February 26th. He guided Curraghgraigue Jack Take Fligh to the fastest double clear round while Shannon McKenzie was again in the prizes aboard Ben Lady Lux. Sven Hadley strengthened his lead at the top of the table with another podium finish, taking third place on this occasion with Sumas Taloubet.
The fourth round of the series took place a week later at Killossery Equestrian Centre, where John Floody partnered Ballyknock Diamond to victory. He finished a massive four seconds ahead of runner-up Edward Doyle riding Derry Inver Luxury Cruise, while Derek McConnell took third place with SRI Lanka Gotham Lad.
The Connolly’s RED MILLS Spring Tour then moved north to Portmore where again familiar names took the top prizes. Shannon McKenzie added to her impressive points tally with a win aboard Ben Lady Lux. Sven Hadley maintained his incredible early season form when finishing second with Sumas Taloubet, while Shannon McKenzie also took third place with Dyolita.
Ballinamona in Co Waterford also hosted a round on the same day as Portmore and reigning champion Liam O’Meara with Curraghgraigue Jack Take Fligh scored their second win of the season. Kildare’s Michael Pender, fresh from a trip on international duty in the Middle East, finished as runner-up with Curra Clover Flight, while he also took third place riding Quarrycrest Clover.
Heading into a double-bill of Connolly’s RED MILLS Spring Tour action on St Patrick’s weekend at Cavan and Broadmeadows, Sven Hadley and Sumas Taboubet hold the lead at the top of the table on 34 points. Karen McKenzie and Ben’s Lady Lux are in second on 26, while Liam O’Meara in well in the hunt in third place with Curraghgrague Jack Take Fligh on 24 points. Jennifer Keuhnle leads the Young Rider section ahead of Michael Pender, while Vickie Anderson holds to spot in the Pro-Am section.