Waterford Riding Club notched up an impressive victory in the team championship at the Connolly’s Red Mills sponsored AIRC National Dressage Championships last Sunday.

The winning team of Anne Lynch (User Friendly (Castle Ellis Larry)), Helen Alexander (Grangefort Heather), Jean Power (Briska Lad) and Fidelma Curran (Ballyadam Philip) finished on a total of 434.51% at Mullingar Equestrian in Co. Westmeath to claim the title for the first time in the clubs 50 year history.

With the best three scores counting, the Waterford club was out in front after the first round was completed but impressively they increased their winning margin after the second round.

All four members registered a test in the seventies with Jean Power scoring 75% on her 11-year-old gelding, Briska Lad, in front of Lynn Cassidy. Power also scored 73.08% from Mairin Cassidy in her second test. Anne Lynch produced a magnificent test on her 12-year-old gelding, User Friendly (Castle Ellis Larry), to receive a score of 73.97 on her second outing while Fidelma Curran also scored highly on Ballyadam Philip, a 15-year-old gelding, with 72.69% in her second test. Helen Alexander got the team off to a solid start with her 11-year-old Irish Draught, Grangefort Heather, registering 70.97% on her first outing of the day.

Club chairperson Sarah Phelan said, “We are so proud the team who put in a lot of hard work over the past few weeks and it thankfully paid off. A big thank you to all the trainers who helped over the past weeks and months.”

“We are a small but tight knit club and everyone is just delighted for the ladies. We can’t wait to be able to meet as a group and celebrate their wonderful achievement together,” she added.

Almost 70 teams sought qualification at nine qualifiers which took place over the past two months, with 18 of those qualified (21) taking part in the final.

Cheval Riding Club claimed the runners-up spot after the quartet of Claire O’Dwyer (Knockmullen Lad), Rachael Reid (Gin), Gerry O’Byrne (Doon Finn) and Geraldine Gaul (Shotgun George) completed the two rounds on 427.08%, just over 7% behind.

The Dublin based club finished ahead of Carne Riding Club, who were runners-up in 2019 and who previously won the title in 2011 and 2012. The Wexford based team of Joy Ffrench (Lilys Rose), Vicky Cloney (Kachemire Le Beau), Susanna Boxwell (Jmhillfield Double Diamond) and Caitriona O’Brien (Drinaghs Golden Lad) took home the yellow ribbons on 426.76%.

Hollybrook, Clonough and South West completed the line up in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.