Irish riders enjoy contrasting fortunes at Liverpool show

Twomey lands Grand Prix but Howley disqualified after horse leaves restricted area

Irish riders enjoyed contrasting fortunes at Sunday's final session of the four-star Liverpool Show with Billy Twomey landing the concluding Grand Prix while Richard Howley was stripped of a success he had secured early on Saturday morning.

The Sligo competitor had won the 1.45m two-phase class for riders under 25 on Tom Rowland’s Guidam mare Clane K but, that night, fell foul of an FEI rule that night which states “Automatic disqualification for the entire event of a horse that was found to have left the restricted area without permission.”

Howley revealed to press at the show that he had “Watched the class and the prize-giving with my owners, then went to the stables around 11pm to take my horse out for a walk as she’d been a bit gassy earlier in the week.

“I brought the horse up to the stable exit and the girl on the door didn’t check my pass and allowed us out. I was going to walk the horse in the warm-up, but the bowsers were in there watering and I didn’t want to spook the horse, so I walked about 20 metres down the road until they’d moved, and then went into the collecting ring.


“We walked three laps on each rein - the horse had its number and rugs and boots on- and then I put her away … If I’d known we weren’t allowed out, I’d never have gone. No way.” Howley only learned of his elimination when about to mount up for Sunday’s class.

The weekend otherwise went well for the Irish with wins for a number of riders including amateurs Kirsten Farr (R Candy) and Aisling Byrne (Wellview Classic Dream), the latter driving away in a new Mini Cooper following her victory in the 1.30m class sponsored by Irish Horse Gateway.

On Sunday evening, 10 combinations got through to the jump-off of the 1.60m Grand Prix where among the five who recorded a second clear, Cork-born Twomey posted the fastest round (34.86) on the Paynes’ 13-year-old British-bred gelding Diaghilev.

Britain's Michael Whitaker finished second in 36.47 with Ornellaia while Swedish rider Peder Fredricson slotted into third spot on H&M All In (37.11). Tipperary native Shane Breen picked up eight faults in the second round to finish 10th with Acoustik Solo du Baloubet.