By Susan Cook

Freezing temperatures, snow, ice, wind and rain did not stop those determined to compete at Morris Equestrian’s four-day Hogmanay show.

With all the stabling undercover of the main building everyone arrived and settled in creating an atmosphere of good cheer which made for a fun and enjoyable show.

The final day offered some excellent prize money, with £450 being up for grabs in the 1.3m Grand Prix. Run in the early evening, just 13 started over an interesting course set by Irish-based course designer, Raf Suarez.

From the start he had riders and horses thinking when the first fence, a vertical was jumped then riders turned left instead of what felt like it should be right taking an almost 360 degree turn to the second fence. There followed turns and distances that used up the whole of the vast arena until the final line which saw an imposing combination and a forward distance to a last square oxer catch out one or two.

Only four made it through to the jump-off where the first to record a clear was the impressive Diablo V, ridden by Sarah Lundy. Giving each of the fences lots of air their round was fabulous to watch but not fast, at 45.22s, which left room for others to chase.

Kelly Connor Baillie was having a good show with a few wins and placings already under her belt so she looked to have done enough when steering her nippy little chestnut mare Bailande Van De Kapel round in 42.4s to take over the lead.

Last in, Douglas Duffin, had just returned from the Liverpool International Show where he had helped Jordan Thompson post a super double clear on Uni Stop. Back home and a string of horses came to Morris for the day with his winning ride being that of Gordon Baillie’s Moonface JX.

This white-faced chestnut, bred by the late Jane Maxwell, was economical over every fence to shave the time down to 40.92s to win the money, sash, rug and other goodies.

Just missing out on the top three, but filling fourth and fifth was Declan Irvine who earned the title of Leading Male Rider of the show. Having travelled abroad last year and gaining rides on some big track horses in the last couple of seasons, he has evolved as a rider, producing and competing at all levels now out of Richard Duncan’s RD Sports Horses' yard, just outside Glenboig.

The reliable winner, Keeford Carousel, was joined by Zandeur Clover, Mystic Hurricane, Horatio Van Ter Hulst as well as Devil’s Kiss and Colgravin H to keep Declan busy and gain valuable points.

Over the moon with her weekend and, in fact, her whole year was local rider, Natalie Devlin, who was crowned Leading Lady Rider of the show. A business systems co-ordinator, she keeps her two mares on livery conveniently situated between home and work, and travels with her mother Anna to most of the shows having just recently returned from a successful trip to Aintree.

Natalie’s long-term partner, Coulters Candy, returned three wins to help her win the title but not before she also stood at the top of the line in a fast and furious 1.1m Grand Prix.

Turning inside to fences then taking an inside line to jump the last oxer on an angle was required to scorch round and drop Amanda Moorhouse, on Diamond Chip, off the winner’s spot.

Also contributing to her points tally was her Irish purchase My Hallo Jessie. This eight-year-old took a season to get to grips with but they have come together to form another great partnership, being second in the 1m Grand Prix whilst picking up some good double clears and placings in newcomers.

Finishing third in the 1.3m Grand Prix and picking up £225 for her efforts was Accrington-based, Sarah Lundy who had a fabulous show. Her big track ride was the 10-year-old stallion, Diablo V, which she has been riding since he arrived in this country as a five-year-old. They won a 1.3m early on but impressively won the popular 'major' six-bar competition run in front of a supportive crowd to sail over 1.5m as if it wasn’t there to add £370 to the purse. Her teenager, True Star, also accounted for two 1m classes.

Kelly Connor Baillie has had a busy year moving premises to her Barkeldy Equestrian base, while still keeping a string of horses on the road. Bailande Van De Kapel keeps her out jumping the bigger classes but the speedy chestnut mare Cleopatra recorded a 1.2m double clear before heading the final day’s 1.2m Grand Prix in a fast jump-off.

Earlier, she was one of three to split the top prize in the mini six-bar on Lindsay Jeffries' Cool Flo Kelly.

LEADING awards

Morris Hogmanay Show – 80cm – 1, Neat Cooley, R Chassels; 2, Inspector Gadget, R Chassels; 3, Rea Diamond, J Page. 90cm open – 1, Just Curious, L Bainbridge Craig; 2, Hojmarks Rosetta, R Davidson; 3, Starfield Diva, I Drummond. British Novice – 1, Royal Flush, A Carruthers; 2, Bandrum Hilux, C Hamilton; 3, Limerick Legend, K Donald. Discovery – 1, Royal Flush; 2, Gidion II, M Irving; 3, Bandrum Hilux. 1m open – 1, True Star, S Lundy; 2, Mark The Man, A Moorhouse; 3, My Hallo Jessie, N Devlin. Newcomers – 1, Harmonizer, A Moorhouse; 2, LA Freetime, C Rogan; 3, Gidion II. 1.1m open – 1, Coulters Candy, N Devlin; 2, Con 3, L Stewart; 3, Darco Diva, D Anderson. Foxhunter –1, Zandeur Clover, D Irvine; 2, HS Agri Gucci Blue. J Dixon; 3, Keeford Carousel, D Irvine. 1.2m open – 1, Camona I, J Dixon. 1.3m open – 1, Diablo V, S Lundy; 2, Eclipse XII, S McLean. British Novice – 1, Limerick Legend; 2, Jupiters Orbit, D Brown; 3, Insallah VI S, D Irvine. 90cm open – 1, True Star; 2, Inspector Gadget; 3, Copper V, A Blackwood. 1m open – 1, Gubeon Junior Kannan, J Taylor; 2, Colourful Lady, Z Stormonth; 3, Ebony XI, T Nicholson. Newcomers1, Cruella De Revel, C Rogan; 2, Harmonizer; 3, Dylan XI, H Donaldson. 1.1m open – 1, Coulters Candy;2, Glow DK, L Stewart; 3, Devils Kiss, D Irvine. Foxhunter/1.2m – 1, Keeford Carousel; 2, Coulters Candy; 3, Allana III, M Irving. National 1.3m – 1, Cancun, L Stewart; 2, Floorludine S, N Williams; 3, Bailande Van De Kapel, K Connor-Baillie. Mini six-bar – 1, Happy Girl, L Rhodes, Gubeon Annie, J Taylor and Cool Flo, K Connor Baillie. Major six-bar – 1, Diablo V; 2, Larry Z, C Hamilton. Foxhunter – 1, Gogobantus, J Dixon; 2, Oldlands Valme, L Creighton; 3, Wings III, R Pindar. 1.2m open – 1, Her L’Amour, D Duffin; 2, Enola Van Shutterhof, D Duffin. 1.3m open – 1, Vintage Vee, J Dixon; 2, Cancun; 3, Allana III. British Novice – 1, Tatiana, L Whitfield; 2, Carrick Lady Of Leitrim, A Gardiner; 3, Spellbound Storm Chaser, R Gilmour. 90cm open – 1, Apricor Sunshine, L Whitfield; 2, Ally D, W Mahoney. Discovery – 1, Gubeon Junior Kannan; 2, Royal Flush; 3, Volatis Callista, M MacDonald. 1m open – 1, C Dizzi Lizzy Von Der Held, Z Stormonth; 2, Copper V; 3, Mark The Man. Newcomers – 1, Gubeon Annie; 2, Bambi V, A Gray; 3, Conny WH, C Rogan.85cm Grand Prix – 1, Copper V; 2, Rea Diamond; 3, Royal Flush. 1m Grand Prix – 1, Mark The Man; 2, My Hallo Jessie; 3, Empress I, A Hall. 1.1m Grand Prix – 1, Coulters Candy; 2, Diamond Chip, A Moorhouse; 3, Gubeon Annie. 1.2m Grand Prix – 1, Cleopatra, K Connor Baillie; 2, Wings III; 3, Fanadwest Dancer, S Price. 1.3m Grand Prix – 1, Moonface JX, D Duffin; 2, Bailande Van De Kapel, K Connor Baillie; 3, Diablo V.