Billy Twomey lands a double at Hickstead

Saturday at Hickstead belonged to Ireland.

Billy Twomey was firing on all cylinders. He notched up an amazing double on Saturday, bringing his win total to three at the famous All England Jumping Course.

Winner of the opening class here, Michael Bates’ home-bred Thomas again stepped up to the plate in the British speed classic for Billy, winning by the tiniest of margins.

Britain’s Ben Maher had set an early target with the Andiamo/Flamenco De Semilly 12-year-old Aristo Z, and remained on top despite several challenges. Until the final draw. The super-cool Billy smoothly cut corners to the bone at a deceptively fast speed to cross the line just 0.01 sec in front.

“He’s improving all the time and looking good, I hope he keeps getting these results,” said Billy on the keen Quidam De Revel nine-year-old. “He likes to take hold and these big rings suit him, they give him more time and me more time to organise him and keep him settled.”

Doron Kuipers for Holland took third on Baileys with the USA’s Lillie Keenan in fourth on Be Gentle and Hickstead-based Irishman Shane Breen fifth aboard Bina Ford’s Acoustik Solo Du Baloubet.

Billy had kicked off the penultimate day’s jumping with a win in the Bunn Leisure Salver on Terry Payne’s home-bred Diaghilev, the Vangelis S 13-year-old – part of Ireland’s second-placed Nations Cup team – posting victory by 1.49 sec.

It was no mean feat. They beat the speedy pairing of Guy Williams aboard the 13-year-old Depardieu Van T Kiezelhof in the seven-horse decider.

“I didn’t think anyone had gone that fast, but knew I had Guy to come after me, so had to put a marker down,” said Billy.

Germany’s Christian Hess slotted Caivano 3 into third, closely followed by Robert Whitaker on Catwalk in fourth and Yazmin Pinchen fifth aboard Van De Vivaldi.

And the Templant Events Queen Elizabeth II Cup also fell to Ireland in the form of locally-based David Simpson on Chessy 17.

This top national class is only open to the top-ranked national riders. Previously restricted to lady riders only, it was opened up to both sexes in 2008, and David became the fifth man to lift the historic trophy.

Five reached the jump-off with David the fastest of three double clears in the penultimate draw on Chessy, a 12-year-old Cellestial daughter.

“I have to keep winning to pay for the wedding,” said David, who marries fellow showjumper Louise Pavitt in two weeks time.

David had the ride on this mare for three months last year before selling her to the USA.

“Due to other commitments, the owners have given her back to me, but I presume I won’t be keeping her long – I’d love to, but I don’t think it will be long before someone offers a big price for her. She’s really cool, like a cross between a pony and a motorbike, but really strong with it. She hasn’t got all the jump and scope of some of the other horses, but she’s a fighter and she’ll take on anything.”

Holly Smith took second two sec in arrears aboard Jane Heerbeck’s Indoctro nine-year-old Carolus K, who gained experience in this ring last month in the British speed Derby.

Emma Slater took third on Mark Haines’ Art D Usance with the steadiest double clear. Last drawn Phillip Miller – fastest of the class – dropped to fourth when Caritiar Z lowered the final fence to groans from the crowd, and Robert Whitaker was fifth on Cash Sent, a Verdi nine-year-old from Norway.


Bunn Leisure Salver

1 Billy Twomey & Diaghilev – IRE – 0/0 40.50

2 Guy Williams & Depardieu Van T Kiezelhof – GBR – 0/0 41.99

3 Christian Hess & Caivano 3 – GER – 0/0 43.98

4 Robert Whitaker & Catwalk IV – GBR – 0/0 45.07

5 Yazmin Pinchen & Van De Vivaldi – GBR – 0/0 45.44

British Speed Classic

1 Billy Twomey & Thomas – IRE – 0 67.21

2 Ben Maher & Aristo Z – GBR – 0 67.22

3 Doron Kuipers & Baileys – NED – 0 68.13

4 Lillie Keenan & Be Gentle – USA – 0 67.91

5 Shane Breen & Acoustik Solo Du Baloubet – IRE – (4) 71.45

Templants Events Queen Elizabeth II Cup

1 David Simpson & Chessy 17 – IRE – 0/0 47.85

2 Holly Smith & Lammy Beach – GBR – 0/0 49.86

3 Emma Slater & Art D Usance – GBR – 0/0 55.22

4 Phillip Miller & Caritiar Z – GBR – 0/4 46.51

5 Robert Whitaker & Cash Sent – GBR – 0/4 52.66

Photos © Jumping Around & Hickstead/Sian Hayden