RDS Dublin Horse Show 2018 - Irish Draught Stallions

I can't believe that the Dublin Horse Show is over for another year! It's one of the highlights of my summer and I always take the week off just to surround myself with horses, horsey shopping and horse people. A week of pure horse stuff! Heaven!

One of my favourite classes to watch is the Irish Draught stallion class. The parade takes place on Thursday but the judging, alongside the public judging, takes place on Friday. I always make sure I arrive super early and get a good spot right alongside the ring. This years class was an interesting mix of former champions and newly approved stallions. I particularly like this class as it gives me a chance to see the best of the best of Irish Draughts, in one ring and at one time. I can see them up close and I can see how they compare to each other.

This year's judges were Mr Nigel Barnett and Ms Maren Schlender. Barnett is from the UK and is often seen judging the conformation section of ridden hunter classes, while Schlender is a Hanoverian judge from Germany. An interesting mix!

Former three-time champion Cappa Cassanova was back to defend his title and to see if he could become the second horse ever to win in Dublin for the fourth time (I believe the only horse to achieve this was Crosstown Dancer). I think he is the epitome of the Irish Draught. Not only has he a gold merit for showing, but he has a gold merit for jumping (4+ double clears at 1.30m) and a silver merit for dressage (3 scores of 64%+ at elementary level). A true all-rounder!

Hot on his tails was two-time champion Gortfree Hero. I adore this horse! While some of the other horses were getting wound up by the buzzy atmosphere and cheering coming from the main arena, this horse just went into the ring and knew his job. Not only is he a great example of the breed, but he is a talented showjumper too. He has 249sji points and has competed up to 1.30m level. His kind and quiet demeanour and show ring presence really make him stand out. It was no surprise really when he was pulled in first and went on to be champion after the conformtion and trot up!

Last years champion, and another of Cappa Stud's horses, Cappa Aristocrat was just pipped to the post and had to settle for reserve champion this year. But at only 7 years old I fully expect this horse to see this horse wearing that sash again in the future!

Archie the Great was the youngest in the class at only 3 years old. I fell in love with him! I definitely think this horse is one to watch for the future. I popped by his stable afterwards and was completely wowed by his temperament. He was like a big, friendly baby!
Archie the Great. How fab is he?! And only three years old!
Two new additions to the lineup this year were Cloncastle Silver Squire and Grandpas Rebel. Cloncastle Silver Squire was bred by his current owners and was led by Liam Lynskey of Derryronane Stud. Lynskey is well known in the draught world as being the owner of Moylough Bouncer. (Interesting to note that two of his progeny were in this class; Archie the Great and Darragh Moylough Vision) His experience paid off and they managed a top 10 finish. Grandpas Rebel, who was approved in 2017, was pulled in 4th! That's some achievement for an RDS first timer!

Darragh Moylough Vision, owned by Edwin McLoughlin, who was last in the ring in 2015, was pulled in 8th. The 2016 champion, Carrabawn Cross was placed 6th. His only approved son, Moylough Legacy, was also in the class and came away with 3rd place. This stallion, out of a Castana mare, also has a bronze merit for showjumping. Not just a pretty face!
Cappa Cassanova
Killountain Cross and Scrapman are both sons of the legendary Irish Draught stallion Crosstown Dancer. He certainly produces a certain type; big liver chestnuts with four white socks and a white face, and they move beautifully! Scrapman has also been awarded a silver merit in showjumping for going clear over 1.20m tracks.

I don't have any immediate plans to put my Irish Draught mare Liath back in foal but having seen the standard and quality on offer, I am starting to reconsider it. Do I need another foal? Nope. But do I want one? Absolutely! Now just to whittle down who would be the perfect match for her...


  • 1st: Gortfree Hero (Sean Barker)  
  • 2nd: Cappa Aristocrat (Cappa Stud)
  • 3rd: Moylough Legacy (Patrick Hoare)
  • 4th: Grandpas Rebel (Donal Goland)
  • 5th: Cappa Dianthus (Cappa Stud)
  • 6th: Carrabawn Cross (P. J. Fitzpatrick)
  • 7th: Scrapman (Paul Maguire)
  • 8th: Darragh Moylough Vision (Edwin McLoughlin)   
  • 9th: Killountain Cross (Charles Dullea)
  • 10th: Cloncastle Silver Squire (David Doyle) 

(All images are copyright)

Gortfree Hero

Cappa Aristocrat

Cappa Cassanova
Cappa Dianthus
Cappa Amadeus
Cloncastle Silver Squire
Killountain Cross
Archie the Great
Carrabawn Cross
Grandpas Rebel
Moylough Legacy
Darragh Moylough Vision

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