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Show Jumping - Kerrygold Grand Prix League - Fearon Takes First National GP

THOUGH a successful competitor in Europe, Neal Fearon came home today (Sunday) to take his first ever national Grand Prix at Claremorris on Samuel McQuade's <Drumagoland Flight>, in the penultimate battle of the 2003 Kerrygold Grand Prix season.

And though local hero Gabriel Slattery slotted two horses into the Top Six, it was the by now almost predictable appearance of 33 yr old Peter Smyth from Tyrone that sealed the final outcome of the contest for the League winner's laurels.

With a fifth place, the Strabane man and his former trotter mare <Zara's Pride>, did just enough to make his position at the top unassailable, and subject to official confirmation, the battle taking place at the Kerrygold Final to be held in Punchestown later this month will be about places rather than league winners. It also seems certain
that Smyth will pick up the Leading Horse trophy for the remarkable <Zara's Pride>.

James Kernan failed to make the cut for the second round of today's competition, and so relinquished his last hope of challenging Smyth's league placing.

Other finishers in the Top Six at Claremorris today included Ronan Clarke and Paul Duffy Jr., but the two consecutive clears by Gabriel Slattery failed to beat Fearon's classic double clear on the nine yr old <Drumagoland Flight>, and a time of 28.97. Smyth and <Zara's Pride> were faster in the jump-off, but the second-last fence down robbed them of yet another first place.

Afterwards, Fearon said: <It was a tricky course by Tommy Gibson, and the run from the oxer into the double of verticals over water followed by another oxer caused a lot of trouble, But it jumped well, and I am really pleased at my first ever Grand Prix win on home soil, and the horse was superb.>

All eyes will now be on the last Kerrygold fixture at Punchestown International Horse Show, where the fight for the runners-up places will be intense.

RESULT: Claremorris School of Equitation Grand Prix, Sunday 7th
September 2003. Sponsored by Claremorris Car Auctions & Bernie McKenna
Prize Money: 3,000 Euro

1) DRUMAGOLAND FLIGHT (Owner Samuel McQuade); Neal Fearon Faults 0/0 Time 28.97
2) RIVERDANCE CLOVER (Owner Cathal Power); Gabriel Slattery Faults 0/0 Time 30.50
3) ATHLETICO 26 (Owner Ronan Clarke); Ronan Clarke Faults 0/0 Time 31.08
4) SLIGO ROYALE (Owner James Brennan); Gabriel Slattery Faults 0/0 Time 33.61
5) ZARA'S PRIDE (Owner Edmund Simpson); Peter Smyth Faults 0/4 Time 28.73
6) HE'S UNIQUE (Owner Kathryn Duffy); Paul Duffy Jr, Faults 1/-

KERRYGOLD GRAND PRIX Rankings after Claremorris School of Equitation
Grand Prix, Sunday 7th September 2003

1) Peter Smyth 109 points
2) James Kernan 81 points
3) Lt. David O'Brien 77 points
4) Harry Marshall 74 points
=5) Shane Breen 61.5 points
=5) Eddie Moloney 61.5 points


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