Equestrian: Shane Breen caps off a fine year for Ireland

Breen takes New Year’s Eve four-star Grand Prix in Liverpool with Golden Hawk

An excellent year for Irish equestrianism came to successful conclusion on New Year's Eve in Liverpool where Shane Breen won the four-star Grand Prix with Golden Hawk.

Four of the five Irish riders in the 30-strong field progressed to the jump-off although Cheshire-based Cork native Billy Twomey did so with four faults as Kimba Flamenco had lowered one of the 13 fences on the first-round 1.60m track.

Over the shortened course, Twomey went clear to eventually finish sixth but Anthony Condon was eliminated with SFS Aristio. Breen was the first of the Irish riders to go double clear, stopping the clock on 38.86 with the Belgian Warmblood stallion Golden Hawk which he owns in partnership with Breen Equestrian and Prince Sultan al Saud.

Last into the arena, Co Down's Conor Swail's bid to usurp Breen from the top spot failed to materialise as his own and Vanessa Mannix's Flower had a fence down and he finished fourth. Clear in 40.52, second place went to Britain's Harriett Nuttall riding the Irish-bred gelding Galway Bay Jed while her compatriot Will Funnell finished third when clear in 42.58 on Billy Diamo.