Twomey targets Rio with talented Codarco

Billy Twomey: My immediate plan is to get to know him and take him to local shows. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Billy Twomey believes his new acquisition, Codarco, has the talent to go all the way, including “possibly” to the Olympics, but he will be taking it one step at a time.

The Nottinghamshire-based Corkman purchased the home-bred six-year-old stallion from Athenry show jumper Thomas O’Brien, who with his brother, David, had achieved remarkable success with the son of Darco.

Twomey compared Codarco to his stallion Je T’Aime Flamenco. “He’s very talented. He proved that, and has got form... He’s like Je T’Aime and, if he’s half as good as him, we’ll be doing OK,” he said.

Codarco’s list of achievements include winning the championship for four-year-olds at Dublin Horse Show, winning the ISH Studbook Show Jumping League both as a five-year-old and six-year-old, culminating in a fifth place this year in the World Breeding Championship for Young Horses at Lanaken.

Twomey aims to get acquainted with the horse before taking him overseas next year.

“My immediate plan is to get to know him and take him to local shows. He’ll be seven next year and I would hope to campaign him at bigger international shows,” he said, adding that “Rio is a possibility, but it’s too early to say”.

Twomey collected 12 World Cup points in Stuttgart recently, a double clear with Tinka’s Serenade putting him fifth in his first qualifier of the season. The result slotted him in at 19th on the Western European League and he’s hoping it will be a springboard to a place in next year’s final.

However, he confessed to having difficult gaining entry to shows, having dropped down the world rankings when he was sidelined following surgery in Germany a year ago for a prolapsed disc and a subsequent fall from a young horse in February that resulted in a fractured vertebrae.

“The mare jumped really well in Stuttgart, and is on decent form since [the Furusiyya Nations Cup final in] Barcelona. She also won at the Horse of The Year show.

“But it’s difficult to get into shows. Since being out of competition with my back, my world ranking dropped quite a bit, but I’ve got some World Cup points now, so hopefully that will help.”

The final is in Lyon, France, next April and, previously, 40 points was the minimum for qualification. There are two qualifying stages left this year (London Olympia and Mechelen, Belgium), then four more in 2014 (Leipzig, Zurich, Bordeaux and Gothenburg).

“I would be hoping to qualify for the final, but that will be determined by what shows I get. I would need three more qualifiers to have a realistic chance,” said Twomey, who is depending on Ireland manager and fellow Corkman Robert Splaine, who, in general, allocates World Cup slots to riders that have served Ireland in the nations cup series.

- The sale of Codarco caught the attention this week, but next week it will be the turn of another Irish horse with the potential to make it big: Arraghbeg Clover.

The gold medal winner in Lanaken goes under the hammer on Tuesday in Germany, at Holger Hetzel’s annual sale.

Hetzel took ownership of the mare from rider Greg Broderick and Declan Orpen in September.

Yesterday, he said no reserve had been set on the five-year-old and he could not speculate on what price she would make. Arraghbeg Clover is one of 25 horses up for auction at Hetzel’s establishment near the Dutch border.

- The National Sports Campus this week published prices for its new equestrian arena, offering the public a six-hour, “full-day” session for €600. Half a day is €300, with one hour costing €125.

Reduced prices — €450, €240, and €100, respectively — apply for HSI affiliates, high-performance riders and level-two coaches. The cost covers a maximum of four horses.

In response to comments on the pricing on its facebook page, the NSC said the “arena is of a higher specification than the venue used at the London Olympics so the prices have to reflect this. We do not want to destroy this magnificent arena with over use”.

It said pricing was based on research across centres in all four provinces, and was approved by Horse Sport Ireland, as were the usage rules.

It pointed out that eight fences are provided, plus floodlights, 10 stables and a large new carpark, while a campus team will assist in set up. NSC said pricing will be reviewed in six months, based on usage and wear and tear.

- Showjumping Ireland has opened voting for its show of the year, and has compiled a list of eight nominees: Connell Hill Equestrian Centre, Antrim; Mullingar CSI two-star; Tubberbride Connaught Region, GP Show; Banbridge Show; Ballivor Show; Cork Summer Show; Ravensdale Lodge Grand Prix Show; and the Irish Breeders Classic in Barnadown, Co Wexford. Email your selection to Voting closes on Dec 10.


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