The first RDS qualifier for this year’s Connolly’s RED MILLS 7 & 8 Year old International Class competition at the Dublin Horse Show saw local man, Thomas O’Brien winning on home soil at Galway Equestrian Centre, with the talented stallion Hector Van D’Abdijhoeve.
The Connaught Bloodstock owned eight-year-old was one of 12 double-clear rounds in a hugely competitive competition, as Ireland’s top riders battled for one of just five places on offer for Ireland’s equestrian showpiece at the RDS.
Thomas O’Brien and Hector Van D’Abdijhoeve finished the second round jump-off in 37.77 seconds, to claim victory by half a second. Clem McMahon finished as runner up with another eight-year-old Claddagh Iroko, while Marion Hughes was just five hundredths of a second slower with Laith to take third place.
An incredibly tight leader board saw James Hogg and Almost Persuaded finish just one hundredth of a second further back in fourth, while Rebecca McGoldrick claimed the all important fifth qualifying spot for the Connolly’s RED MILLS final at the RDS with Duco, who was the only seven-year-old to finish in the top five.
Riders now have just three more opportunities to book a place at the RDS, with Coilog (Kildare), Barnadown (Wexford) and The Meadows (Armagh), hosting the three remaining qualifiers, as they bid to follow in the footsteps of 2014 Connolly’s RED MILLS 7 & 8 Year old champions Cian O’Connor and Aramis 573.
The top 20 qualifiers from the four Irish venues, will be joined at the Dublin Horse Show by up to twenty-four additional International entries from around the world, for the 2015 Connolly’s RED MILLS 7 & 8 Year-Old International Final at the RDS in Ballsbridge, where along with a very lucrative prize-fund, the overall winner will receive a tonne of Connolly’s RED MILLS Horse Care 10, market leading horse feed product.
Galway Equestrian Centre Results
1. Thomas O’Brien/Hector Van D’Abdijhoeve 0/0 37.77
2. Clem McMahon/Claddagh Iroko 0/0 38.23
3. Marion Hughes/Laith 0/0 38.28
4. James Hogg/Almost Persuaded 0/0 38.29
5. Rebecca McGoldrick/Duco 0/0 39.24
6. Jenny Rankin/Dento 0/0 39.88