Equestrian: Billy Twomey ends the year in style

Irish rider wins four-star Grand Prix in Liverpool on Kimba Flamenco

Irish show jumpers' excellent 2019 season continued right up to the final night of the year when Billy Twomey won the four-star Grand Prix at the Liverpool international horse show on the Kim Barzilay-owned and bred Kimba Flamenco

The Cheshire-based Cork native, who was successful in 2016 and 2017 with Diaghilev, was one of eight of the 31 starters who progressed to the second round of the 1.60m competition over a track designed in the M&S Bank Arena by Tipperary's Alan Wade.

Against the clock, Twomey's clear in 40.93 saw him take the honours ahead of Britain's Jack Whitaker who too came home unpenalised in 42.87 with Elucar VE. Fellow British rider Holly Smith was faster, 39.61, but picked up four faults with Hearts Destiny. The only other clear in the jump-off was recorded by Kildare's Mikey Pender on Verdict de Kezeg (41.06) but he had a pole down in the first round and had to settle for fifth.

“To win the Grand Prix three times here is amazing,” said Twomey. “My horse jumped fantastic. He has been close to doing something in the last couple of shows, and finally it has paid off for me and him here. I am delighted for the owner and everyone involved with the horse. A win always helps everything. He is an extremely talented horse. He has won a five-star Grand Prix in Falsterbo (Sweden), so he is winning at every level, which is good.


“The course builder (Wade) is probably the best course builder on the planet. He made it difficult enough that it wasn’t a giveaway to anyone. You needed to jump the course. It wasn’t a rat-race. In the jump-off, I tried to put it up to the rest of the riders. Sometimes, when you go early, you don’t really know, but thankfully I held on to clinch the win.”