Northern Ireland’s Peter Smyth and the giant Cavalier Rusticana produced a suitably colossal performance to win the Equestrian.com Liverpool International Horse Show puissance.
The class, sponsored by Equitop Myoplast, provided a thrilling finale to Friday’s action for a bumper crowd at Liverpool Echo Arena, as it reached a gripping conclusion.
Just two riders — Smyth and Ireland’s Shane Breen, riding Gotti van Paemel — made it through to the fourth and final jump-off round, and after Breen collected four faults at the puissance wall, Smyth soared over the 7ft 1in (2.16-metre) obstacle on a horse that measures 18.1hh.
It was only Cavalier Rusticana’s second puissance — the first one was just a month ago at Cavan International in Ireland, and he won that one as well.
Four combinations, meanwhile, shared third place after bowing out in the third jump-off round – Denis Lynch (Garkus van het Indihof), James Smith (Tyson Uno), Christopher Megahey (Seapatrick Cruise Cavalier) and Anthony Condon (Hadine van’t Zorgvliet).
Reflecting on the performance, Smyth said: “It really came together in the last round at the right time. Shane and myself had a chat before the last round, and we both wanted to give it a go.”
“The horse is a nine-year-old. We’ve had him since he was four. He’s a good horse, and his owner Mary McCarthy was here tonight to watch him.”
“He was seventh in the Hickstead Derby last year, which was good, and he has won some good classes in Ireland.”
“He won the Cavan International, jumping 2.15m, and his size certainly helps, but he is also supple and agile for a big horse. He was really up for it tonight.”
To book your tickets for Liverpool International Horse Show or for more information, go to www.liverpoolhorseshow.com