Clare’s Jack Conlon Gateau (12) and his Pony Stallion “Kato Star” (11) took 2 titles at the prestigious Dublin Horse Show at the weekend.
Jack, who trains at Gateau Stables in Spancilhill, impressed in the first of four qualifiers for the Dublin Horse Show back in May in Cavan when he was the first rider to claim two of the highly sought after qualification spots for the Under 12 – 128 division.
Since that Jack & his pony stallion “Blaengwen Kato Star” have had a great run of results with wins in top U12s events like the Mullingar International Horse Show Grand Prix Qualifiers, Team Gold with Ireland at the Cavan Home Pony International & lately Gold in the recent prestigious Pony Premier Series in Mullingar.
Jack & Star’s great run of form continued in to the RDS last week. Over two days of qualification for 18 spots for the National Championships Final in the main arena in the RDS Jack and Star had an off day on Day 1 but turned it around on Day 2. In the Simmonscourt Arena on Thursday they produced two, foot perfect, clear rounds to win the qualifying class by almost 4 seconds. This secured their spot for the National final on the Friday evening in the RDS main arena – just after the Aga Khan winning team from Mexico had accepted their cup.
In the final on Friday evening just 7 combinations of 18 went clear after the difficult first round. Against the clock in Round 2, with the stadium announcer revving up the large crowd still present, just 2 combinations left all the fences intact – including Jack and Star who took second spot, or ‘Reserve Champion’.
Commenting on his success over the weekend Jack said; “It was such a thrill to qualify for the RDS back in May, and the reality was even better than I expected. I have never jumped in front of such a big crowd or in such a big arena. It was a bit scary but great fun as well. The competition is so strong and there are so many good riders it was amazing to do so well and come away with a win and a second place. I just hope I can get there next year again now….”
Commenting on the great week of jumping, Valerie Gateau – Jack’s Mum and trainer and owner of Gateau Stables said; “Jack’s performance and results in Dublin has been like a dream come through. After day 1 we were all a bit nervous but after Jack won the qualifying class on Thursday the pressure was off. Just about any one of the 18 pony/rider combinations qualified to jump in the final in the Main Arena in the RDS on Friday night could have taken the title – so we knew the competition was going to be fierce.
I’m so proud that Jack and Star were able to keep a cool head under such noisy and exciting circumstances – especially since it was their first time to jump in the RDS. With just 2 double clears in the final it confirmed how tough the course was and how much pressure these riders and ponies were under. They are all such super riders and competitors though and it confirms for me that the future of Irish underage show jumping is in very safe hands and hooves.”