Ice creams and lots of water were the order of the day as the big crowd were treated with the start of the challenging and visually spectacular cross country action in warm conditions with the jumping at the popular water fences being the most prestige vantage points to view the leading horses and riders. The 80 shops in the shopping village consisting of local artisan foods, gourmet foods, arts and crafts and country clothing reported a brisk trade and the mini ponies proved to be really popular with the youngsters.
Advance ticket sales are already up 10% on last year and one of the most highly anticipated and dog-friendly shows which takes place this weekend. Huge crowds are anticipated to see the best and most skilful riders take on the biggest and daunting fences seen in Ireland this year, all around the historic 200 acre Tattersalls estate which is just outside Dublin in Ratoath.
The George Mernagh Memorial CIC3* commenced today and the big guns certainly came out in force with fantastic dressage scores being posted especially by the overnight leader James Avery (NZ) on his horse Zazu with a really hot score of 20.80. Jonty Evans is best of the Irish, just two penalties behind on his superstar horse Cooley Rorkes Drift on another great score of 22.80 which is sure to impress the Irish management with the World Equestrian Games beckoning.
The feature class, The Irish Field CCI3* cross country action kicks off tomorrow and China’s Alex Hua Tian go into the jumping phase in the lead on his dressage score of 24.60 with Don Geniro. Jonty Evans, again leading the Irish charge, is in 7th riding Clara M on 28.70.
The Eventing Ireland CCI2* saw the in-form Kiwi James Avery take the lead again with Vitali on a dressage score of 27.30 with Jonty Evans once more being best of the Irish on Dreamliner on a score of 29.70 in 7th position.
In the Land Rover CCI1*, again has Alex Hua Tian in the lead after today’s cross country as he finished on his dressage score of 28.5 with Jilsonne van Bareelhof whilst best of the Irish is Jim Newsam on Burinex in 7th position and well within reach on his dressage score 30.90.
The Cooley Farm CCIYH1* 6 & 7 year-olds is currently led by Great Britain’s Laura Collett who had a faultless cross country round and go into the show jumping phase on 21.80. Best of the Irish is Co. Meath’s Elizabeth Power riding DSL The Entertainer and finishing the day on a score of 25.90, lying in 6th place.
The Berney Brothers CCI1* for Ponies is still led by Ireland’s Isabelle Comerford with Colour Me Fancy on her dressage score of 28.20 after the cross country phase today whilst in the CCIJ1* event Ireland’s Katie Riley on Versace Biscuit flew around on the cross country phase today and stays in the lead on his dressage score of 25.20.