Ireland's Billy Twomey delivered a showjumping showcase on the final night of the inaugural Equestrian.com Liverpool International Horse Show to be crowned Grand Prix champion.
Nottinghamshire-based Twomey guided Diaghilev (Vangelis S x Handstreich) to an emphatic triumph in the show's headline class, sponsored by Equestrian.com, landing a £15,000 winner's purse.
Twomey's jump-off time of 34.86 seconds left his rivals trailing, with five-time British Olympian John Whitaker leading the chasing pack in second place on his Rio Olympics hopeful Ornellaia (For Pleasure x Calato). Whitaker clocked a time of 36.47 seconds, and it looked as though he might have done enough for victory, but Twomey had other ideas.
Sweden's Peder Fredricson completed the podium places aboard H&M All In (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Fortune), with Robert Bevis (Courtney Z) taking fourth, Robert Smith (Bavi) fifth and Peter Charles (Stapleton Mist) sixth.
"I am really delighted," Twomey said. "It's an unbelievable show here, and I have got some happy owners and some happy children tonight! I had a bit of a funny first day. I think all the horses were a bit too fresh during Christmas, and then they improved from there on in. It came off for me today."
"The Horse of the Year Show was Diaghilev's last big event, really, but he has slotted straight back in, which is great. He has a lot of power and scope."
"The organisers of this show deserve a serious amount of credit. The arena has been nearly full every day. To get a show kicked off in the first year and have big crowds is really impressive."
And Twomey's views were reflected by immediate figures for the show's live streaming on the official website, which revealed 85,000 playbacks across three days, more than 500,000 minutes watched and over 500,000 people reached on social media platforms.
Source: Press release Liverpool International Horse Show // Picture © Trevor Meeks
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