Day three means we’re in business, literally. The show has started.
The latest start of the show gives us a chance to sort of who is shuttling who in from UCC to the show ground. We can’t park at RDS so two drivers will drive us in shifts each day, before returning to our accommodation, parking the cars and getting a free shuttle bus in to the show.
I’m in the first wave because I need to course walk and meet the stewards of the main ring – important people to get on with! I’m relieved to find a few familiar faces among the stewards and arena party. This will make life much easier as the week goes on. The ring has three courses in it, which makes walking the right one a challenge.
My first class is a national class for six-year-olds which goes on for two hours or so. I have to set a precedent with the prize giving and make sure we (and the Press Office for the show) get the images needed for PR and Sponsors, as well as for us to sell to competitors. This can be a problem with well-run shows like Dublin, as time is of the essence and they can be too keen to hand over a rosette and set the riders off on their lap of honour a bit too quickly. As it happens there are no issues. There are lots of judges, stewards and sponsors to be photographed and the riders themselves are clearly well-trained at looking for a camera and keeping horses stationary if they can. I can’t say the same for most UK show jumpers I’m afraid.
My first international class of the week is a speed class, which comes next. This is the first opportunity to see which riders are going to be featuring in most of the international classes. Greg Broderick wins this for Ireland and sets another precedent. Young Lillie Keenan is second and, again, this is the start of a very good show for the young American. Another prize giving over (this time from the other side of the ring for no apparent reason) and I can settle down in the media seats to watch and photograph Lorenzo, the “Flying Frenchman”. He doesn’t disappoint as he proceeds to jump obstacles while standing on the backs of two of his horses, with four loose horses jumping happily on each side of them.
The feature class of the day is the Sport Ireland Classic, our second international class. This time we have a jump off. This time the Irish take all the podium places: Shane Breen beating Bertram Allen by 0.09s in the jump off, with Anthony Condon a few tenths behind those two. Another Irish Anthem.
Finally, for day one, we have a national young riders class which nets Jenny Rankin the princely sum of €370.
The start of the show is generally quiet in the stand as many of the riders have several classes to complete and tend to wait until their show is finished before coming for images. The takings are good, though, and we set off back to UCC on the shuttle bus.
Nobody can decide on what they want for supper and I take the initiative, making a spaghetti bolognese from scratch which goes down well. Early nights all round.