Yesterday at the Liverpool International Horse Show, there was a nail biting finish in the Equestrian.com grand prix as Billy Twomey delivered another great display to retain his crown as champion.
The Irish star once again rode his 14-year-old bay gelding Diaghilev around the course as he had done 12 months ago to land the top prize of £17,500. Although, William Whitaker had set the challenge on his new ride Utamaro d'Ecaussines, clocking 38.79 seconds, Billy was in no mood to relinquish his grip on the trophy, as he finished in 37.32 seconds. Also representing Ireland on the podium in third place was Michael Duffy and Belcanto Z.
"I am really delighted with the win," said Billy. "My horse went really well over the two rounds. My horse is really competitive, and when you are turning he is always looking to find the fence."
William who took second place was delighted with his horse. "He has jumped five rounds in three days and not had a fence down," said William. "I have only been riding him for three or four months, and this was my first big show with him, so I am really pleased."
Britain's Chloe Aston, meanwhile, successfully defended her title in the knockout competition, sponsored by Redrow Homes.
Sixteen riders competed in round one, before moving on to quarter-finals, semi-finals and final, where it proved a thrilling showdown between Chloe and her fellow renowned speed merchant Guy Williams.
"To be fair, I didn't think I was going to beat him, so I was extremely pleased with the outcome," said Chloe who rode Amigo T. "The first round is always the hardest in this competition for me, because my horse has a little bit of his own mind. I've had him since he was five-years-old, and he is now 11, so I know him inside out. To win a class like that, you have to know your horse."