A superb sunny Sunday for the final day at Millstreet and what a difference a day makes in terms of the footing.  The team at Millstreet had worked late into Saturday night to make changes to the start and finish, take out a loop and basically take the wettest part of the ground off the track.  They built a new first fence and reduced the time to 6 mins 11 secs and without doubt it transformed the competition.  If anything it got better and better throughout the morning and it turned into a cracking day of competition.

Tim was first out for the team on Chio 20 and they looked pure class as Chio came of age, building on his good run at Blenheim last year.  They powered over the big fences, ate up the ground and looked like a sure fire thing for the future coming home with just 6.8 time.

Jonelle and McClaren (Mac) set off looking like they were on a mission and Mac throughly enjoyed his run, tackling the combinations with his customary determination and making light of the waters. They picked up just 3.2 time to finish in eventual 10th spot in a big class.

Tim and Dromgurrihy Gold ( Dara) went near the very end of the class and Tim gave Dara an educational round for a clear and 25 time for his first 4 star short MER and a huge tick in the box for the weekend.  Dara can sleep well  all the way home!

Dan Jocelyn and Blackthorn Cruise did a great job for the team adding just 3.6 time but with Clarke Johnstone having withdrawn Rocket Man the Nations Cup team had lost our 7 point advantage and the other teams were quick to capitalise so we slipped off the podium.

Meanwhile Jonelle was back in showjumping gear for the 3 Long finale with Full Monty de Lacense (FM).  He had breezed through the very early jog and warmed up looking like a champion which does not always bode well for the ring!  FM owned it though and jumped a superb clear over an up to height and technical track for 6th spot which also earnt him a trip into the prize giving for a rosette and a canter around the arena.  FM found all that very much to his liking and to have finally ticked off the 3 Long MER is a huge step forward and he too can rest up for a summer holiday.  His teammate Cooley Seeing Magic (Guthrie) had also completed his first 3 Long with Cosby Green and they will have plenty to chat about on the way home.

Chilli’s Midnight Star (Ollie) was also in a podium prime position running third in the 4* Long and he too bounced through his early morning jog.  Going in reverse order for the top three saw Ollie jump a tremendous round to put a bit of pressure on number 2, which happened to be Cosby Green and Highly Suspicious (Puff).  Cosby and Puff laid down the gauntlet for a superb clear of their own and then it was Equiratings founder and all round popular Irishman who had a rail in hand to take the lead.

Sam held onto his lead for a hugely delighted Irish crowd and Puff and Ollie went into the arena for their prize giving and lap of honour.  It was a really super Sunday with all of the team horses having gone so well and a nice warm afternoon to start packing up.

Kerryn and her team were well onto it and with some fancy driving work from Tim and Jonelle they got the drag hooked up ( no mean feat in a tight parking lot with umpteen horseboxes, trailers, cars and hook up points as well as some still soft patches to negotiate).  The 7 horses were loaded up and Kerryn headed out with Alys and the kids in the truck ( much to Abel’s disgust when she learnt that Tim and Jonelle were flying home!) and the 2 horse stacked full of gear.

It has been an emotional week for everyone as Georgie Campbell is in all of our thoughts and our sadness for Jesse and her family.  Sam  Ecroyd  had 200 white and purple ribbons made up to honour Georgie’s cross country colours and riders and owners alike wore them with pride.  Millstreet held respectful silences, the office had purple and white flower decorations and I think everyone breathed a sigh of relief when the weekend went well.

Thanks for the sunshine Georgie.  We really appreciated it.

NZL-Jonelle Price rides McClaren during the Cross Country for the CCIO4*-S. 2024 IRL-Millstreet International Horse Trials. Sunday 2 June. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography