All roads lead to the Meadows this Saturday for the Ballyward Equestrian Ulster Region final leg on Saturday 24th August. This year's summer horse tour began in April and encompassed shows and venues across the province as competitors collected points throughout 5 months of show jumping action. The Ulster Region of Showjumping Ireland have contributed substantial prize money towards both the overall league prize fund, and an enhanced prize fund for the final leg on Saturday which is open to all. Derek Reid, Chairman of the Ulster Region Horse Committee commented "We made the decision when putting this tour together, to increase the prize money in the final leg by allocating additional funds. Our aim is to create a fabulous atmosphere, where the podium placed riders who supported the league would be congratulated." Derek continued "We would like to thank our sponsors for this league, including Ballyward Equestrian who joined us for the second year running, and also a new sponsor for this tour McFadden Civils Ltd who have been long time supporters of Ulster Region Showjumping. Without our sponsors, these annual horse tours would not be possible. We also take this opportunity to thank all competitors who supported the league this year."
Organisers are keen to encourage all competitors to attend the final leg regardless of previous attendances, as prize money at this final leg is open to all. Only league placings are for competitors who have competed at 4 legs to qualify for league prize money.
The schedule for Saturday 24th includes a 1.35m with a prize fund of £3,500, 1.20m senior and YR class with £1,000 for each category up for grabs on the day, a 1.10m Senior and YR class with £650 prize fund for each category, 1m and 90cm classes with prize funds of £450 each. There is also an amateur class at the show with prizes in kind unrelated to the tour. The overall league prize fund is in excess of these figures and the top three combinations in each class of the summer tour league will be awarded on the podium this Saturday. These achievements will also be celebrated at the annual horse awards in January next year.
Competition is very close in the battle for Ulster Region titles. With 15 points for a win on Saturday the pressure is on and spectators are in for a gripping final day's viewing! In the 1.35m Simon Scott lies in first and second place with Ploverfield Lilyanna and Jasmine Tide respectively, while Jonathan Smyth who has secured 5 wins in his 5 outings through the league lies 5 points behind him in third place.
The 90cm class is tied at the moment between Justine O'Hara with Sally and Maeve Lunny on Okee Dokee on 54 points each. However 9 riders are currently within 10 points of this leading score at the moment so this narrow margin lends to a gripping final leg!
Fiona Thompson lies in first and second place in the 1m league, with her own Curolea Roni in 1st and Philip White's O'Harabrook in second. Fiona made use of her three wins throughout the tour gaining more than a 15 point margin on nearest competitor Laura Ervine and White Hawk Sahara in third, so Saturday's attendance is imperative for Fiona to hold on to 1st and second place.
Emma Jackson and Sarah Burns battle it out in the 1.10m and 1.20m classes, Sarah and Georgies Star are holding the lead to the final in the 1.10m with Emma and Silken Allure in second place 13 points behind. Meanwhile Emma and Creevagh For Sure lead the way in the 1.20m while Sarah and Georgies Star are 13 points behind them in second! Jonathan Creswell on KGC Maverick and Sarah Kinnear and Dstud Midget Gem will be keeping the pressure on in the 1.10m class as the top 3 positions for podium placings are decided
The Young Rider 1.10 league tables have documented a change in leadership as the tour progressed and at the final furlong, Elle Johnston and Cadence Dreamer are clear by 2 points ahead of Patrick McWilliams and Fivonia G. With so little between them, this class also promises suspense!
Elle Johnston headlines the Young Rider 1.20m league table heading to the final leg aswell however this time with Tawnmore Lux Furious. Currently on 46 points, she is 4 points clear of Olivia Roulston who are just back from a week of strong results in Dublin Horse Show. Patrick McWilliams is poised in third place with Drumrott Penny to keep the pressure on for a strong finish.
The Ulster Region horse committee would like to wish all competitors the very best of luck on Saturday as we look forward to a fantastic day of Show Jumping Action!