Quinlivan leaves rivals in her wake

SHOW JUMPER Sarah-Kate Quinlivan went one better at Newcastle West in Limerick yesterday, when winning the Spring Mount Grand Prix, having finished runner-up last year.

The Kanturk woman, aboard Billy Daly’s ever-consistent Newmarket Girl, exercised little restraint when third to go in the 12-horse jump-off, her all-or-nothing tactics paying dividends as her rivals fell well short of her time of 30.92 seconds.

The only serious threat came from Francis Connors, the Waterford rider breaking the beam in 32.60 on Francis Mangan’s Auto Cruz to finish second.

Connors’ performance was good enough to extend his lead in the Boswell Equestrian Grand Prix League. The seven-times national champion now has 73 points, giving him a 28-point lead on second-placed Tholm Keane, on 45 points.

Keane’s lead on Paul O’Shea has been cut to one point, after O’Shea placed equal second on Saturday in the Limerick and District Grand Prix at Crecora. In an unusual occurrence, O’Shea tied with himself when stopping the clock on 44.34 seconds with Caramella B and Elba.

Denying him first was Eddie Moloney aboard Chatsworth Dan.

Quinlivan’s win, meanwhile, showed that she is getting back to the form of last year that only saw her denied the league title in the final round by Cian O’Connor.

Nevertheless, with 12 rounds remaining, she feels she has little chance of overtaking Connors.

“I’m an optimist, but, unless Francis takes himself out of the country for the next six weeks, I figure it will be impossible for me to win,” said Quinlivan, who had to defer the start of her season to last month until the completion of her final dentistry exams.

Abroad, Marion Hughes finished second to Olympic gold medallist Rodrigo Pessoa in the Swedish grand prix yesterday.

Following her good performance in Friday’s nations cup, the Kilkenny rider again teamed up with her bay gelding Heritage Transmission to produce a fault-free performance that netted her €7,500.

Billy Twomey and the 12-year-old chestnut mare Anastassia III lowered one in the jump-off to finish seventh, while four faults in Saturday’s derby with Killy Jones saw the Cheshire-based Corkman place sixth.

In the three-star show at Redefin, Germany, Mayo rider Cameron Hanley rode Charming Fox to victory on Saturday.

In Vimeiro, Portugal, Harry Marshall and Ado Annie yesterday followed their speed class victory by placing third in the grand prix.

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