Millstreet win delights Billy Twomey

Local boy Billy Twomey delighted the capacity crowd at Millstreet International Horse Show yesterday when winning the €50,000 grand prix.

Ten riders booked their place in the jump-off and, while the vastly-experienced Twomey is always a threat, being last to go with the consistent Ardcolum Duke made him doubly so.

The first of the clears came from Waterford’s Peter Moloney and Ribantelle Tame, with Paul Kennedy and Cartown Danger Mouse following suit, but over four seconds slower.

It was left to Twomey to do the business and he showed his style when crossing the finish line over two seconds up on Moloney.

He was delighted to claim victory on his old stomping ground.

Millstreet is where it all started for me. It’s great to be able to come down here, catch up with friends and family and win the grand prix.”

He was rightly praiseworthy of Joe Flynn’s 11-year-old grey gelding, who also gave him victory at last week’s Dublin Horse Show.

“He’s a super little horse. He’s in the money most weeks,” said Twomey, urging Irish breeders to ‘”keep producing horses like this one”.

Earlier, Sligo’s Richard Howley, riding D Millfield Darin won the prestigious Boomerang final for horses aged six and seven. Australia’s Jake Hunter was second on Cento Blue, with Edward Butler and Burnt Again third.

Francis Connors pulled off one of the greatest smash-and-grabs atMillstreet on Saturday, and he had his trademark smile afterwards as testament to his crime.

The Waterford rider was second last to go in the Speed Derby and chasing what looked like an impossible task as, while even those with the barest knowledge know better than to discount him, it was difficult to see how Vinny Byrne could be denied a second win at the show.

Even Connors himself thought it was too much of an ask, after Byrne had grabbed the lead when 16th in on Mr Rockfeller. Over a long twisty course that encouraged speed, but penalised anything that was not 100% accurate, Byrne put in a performance that saw none of the 34 that followed him coming close to his superb time of 98.75 seconds.

The 35th rider, however, was to prove Byrne’s nemesis. Connors is recognised as one of the country’s most stylish riders and anyone that saw his round with Uskerty Diamond Lady would appreciate that, the pair set of with a flowing rhythm that ultimately saw them urged on to the last fence by a crowd full of an anticipation and appreciation, crossing the line almost a second faster than Byrne.

Connors was delighted.

“She doesn’t waste time in the air and she’s so good on her turns. She’s deceptively fast. I knew Vinny was quick and had left out a few strides here and there, but I knew I couldn’t do that. I just tried to get on an even stride and she just flowed,” said Connors.

Byrne was stoic in defeat.

“You always know there’s the chance someone could pip you. I was 16th to go, so I didn’t see too many others and there were very few clears at that time. I just went in and had as good a round as I could,” said Byrne.

The competition was also notable for the participation of Ciaran Nallon, the Mayo rider being aged just 13. On Ciao Bella, he was unlucky to finish with one error, giving a taste of the talent that has seen him tipped for future success.

Earlier, Britain’s Laura Renwick claimed her second international class winat the show when taking the Millstreet Masters. Renwick conjured up two of only four clear rounds and, while she had one down with Bintang II in the jump-off, her round on Rembrandt Blue was good enough to easily beat last year’s winner, Dermott Lennon on Victoria Loane’s Gelvins Touch. Ross Mulholland produced the only other double clear with Ahmed du Calvaire to place third.

In Wienter Neustadt, Austria, 13-year-old Jennifer Kuehnle added to Ireland’s haul of medals at the European Championships when taking gold in the children on horses final. Riding Chaitanya 2, she beat three Germans in a jump-off.

On Friday, the junior team (U18) of Philip Carey, Susan Fitzpatrick, Anna Carway and Cormac Hanley took team silver, while the young rider team (U21) of Eoin McMahon, Michael G Duffy, Michael Duffy and Jonathan Gordon won bronze.


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