Billy Twomey delivered another masterful display to retain his crown as Equestrian.com grand prix champion at the Liverpool International Horse Show.
The Irish star once again thrived under pressure at the Echo Arena, guiding 14-year-old bay gelding Diaghilev home – as he had done 12 months ago – to land a top prize of £17,500.
Britain’s William Whitaker had set the challenge on his new ride Utamaro d’Ecaussines, clocking 38.79 seconds, but Billy was in no mood to relinquish his grip on the trophy, as he finished in 37.32 seconds. And there was further Irish representation on the podium, with Michael Duffy and Belcanto Z completing the podium places.
“I am really delighted with the win,” Billy said. “My horse went really well over the two rounds. Michael put down a good marker, but luckily, the jump-off round worked out pretty good for me. My horse is really competitive, and when you are turning he is always looking to find the fence.
“He can be fast in the jump-offs, and luckily he was a bit quicker than the others today. To the third fence, he was pretty sharp and maybe gained some time there. He brought some decent form into this event – he won at La Coruna a few weeks ago. I gave him a day off on Sunday, and he repaid me with a really good performance.”
William Whitaker was also pleased with the outcome of his weekend with Utamaro. “I am delighted with the horse. He has jumped five rounds in three days and not had a fence down. I have only been riding him for three or four months, and this was my first big show with him, so I am really pleased. You could definitely feel his experience in the jump-off. He knew what he was doing.