Show jumper Billy Twomey topped the leaderboard in the €200,000 Longines King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead yesterday with Lizziemary, capping an incredible week that saw him win four classes at the five-star show.
Adding to the achievement was the fact it was the 10-year-old chestnut mare’s first time competing in the international arena at the Sussex venue and the Corkman was delighted with he display.
“Ordinarily, horses need to know that arena, but she’s really brave and has a big rangey gallop that covers the ground, so it suits her,” said Twomey.
“I’ve always felt she’s been knocking on the door, but not quite delivered. I’m very proud she’s managed to win one of the most prestigious classes in the world.
“I had a good show in Dublin last week, where I was the leading rider... there is a lot to be said for when you’ve got your tail up and are full of confidence.”
Twomey, one of 13 to book his place in the jump-off, had shown he was a genuine threat, having already won three classes at the show: The Bunn Leisure Salver with Diaghilev, plus the British Speed Classic and the Bunn Leisure Vase with Thomas.
Making the most of being the last drawn, he powered round with Lizziemary to shave almost half a second off the leading time set by Dutchman Wout-Jan van der Schans on Capetown, with the Cian O’Connor-mentored American Lillie Keenan and Super Sox third.
Wexford’s Bertram Allen had held the lead with Molly Malone V, but had to settle for fourth place and, while Shane Breen and Golden Hawk produced the fastest time, it came at a cost of four faults to leave the Tipp rider in ninth place.
Ireland’s David Simpson and Elizabeth Power also scored victories at the show, while the Irish team were runners-up in Friday’s Nations Cup.
At the Camphire International Horse Trials in Waterford, a decisive cross-country performance by James O’Haire and the 10-year-old mare China Doll saw them win the CIC three-star. O’Haire picked up just 2.8 time penalties to add to his dressage cross, finishing on 60.6pens.
At Millstreet, Gavin Harley finished fifth in the battle for individual honours in the European Young Rider Show Jumping final with Understone Van De Kapel, while Michael G Duffy and Felix finished ninth. The pair formed half the Irish team who won the European gold medal on Friday, along with Matt Garrigan and Max O’Reilly Hyland.
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