Winner of last year’s grand prix at Liverpool’s inaugural show 12 months ago, Ireland’s Billy Twomey returned with a win with the Gypsy Duke stallion Ardcolum Duke.
Twelve reached the jump-off in the Horseware Ireland 1.45m with Italy’s Emanuele Gaudino setting a sizzling standard from the opening draw with Chalou. But he was no match for Billy. The super-cool Irishman set off at a determined gallop and executed all the tight turns to finish with a flourishing gallop to the final vertical on Ardcolum Duke.
“Emanuele had set a fast marker so I had to chance my arm to the last, but he [Duke] is always competitive at 4 and 5* shows and usually picks up a win here and there. He’s naturally quick and always tries to be careful and he looked after me to the last,” said Billy, who wiped 1.10 sec off the Italian’s time.
Billy is happy to be back in Liverpool.
“It looks like the show is getting bigger and better, and it’s a great atmosphere in the ring,” he said.
Fellow Irishman Shane Breen claimed third with Guidam Van Het Achterhoek. Laura Renwick was best Brit in fourth on Yazmin Pinchen’s Dominant H, closely followed by Anna Power in fifth aboard Crack Van Overis Z. Ireland’s Dermott Lennon provided a fast four with Loughview Lou-Lou for sixth with Louise Saywell in seventh with Feigtling.
It seemed a clear was going to be elusive in an exciting Bottega Gold 1.50m speed with thrills and spills galore. Both Louise Saywell and David Simpson suffered unfortunate tack malfunctions, but everyone remained unscathed, and fences fell with depressing regularity as riders chased the clock. First off Robert Smith maintained a long-time lead with four faults on Bavi, but Chloe Aston soon put paid to that with a sizzling round on Kolibri Classic.
Fear is not in Chloe’s vocabulary and she sped round and the Kolibri gelding matched her fervour to take the lead some two sec faster – and most importantly clear.
However, a British victory was not to be and Germany’s Felix Hassmann jumped a deceptively fast round on the Claudio stallion Cayenne WZ to win by just 0.09 of a sec.
“There were a lot of faults at the beginning, so I planned to go a little slower to the first three fences and I went round to the third fence rather than take the inside option and made up tme later on,” said Felix, who was thrilled with Cayenne’s performance.
“He’s my best horse, I’ve had him for five years now, since he was a six-year-old. He’ll have a break tomorrow [Sunday] and then jump the grand prix.”
Chloe had to share second as Switzerland’s Janika Sprunger equalled her time with Aris CMS. John Whitaker displayed all his legendary talents as he guided Ornellaia into fourth and William Funnell jumped an easy round on the promising Billy McCain for sixth, sandwiching Belgium’s Constant van Paesschen into fifth on Hamlet VD Donkhoeve.
Guy Williams’ late round looked to give Britain a victory despite Titus tripping mid-round, and the pair produced the fastest time of the class, but a crucial rail hit the floor to drop them to seventh. Robert Smith and Bavi took eighth.
Photos © Jumping Around & Trevor Meeks/Liverpool International Horse Show