Ireland’s Billy Twomey crowned a fantastic week at the Longines Royal International Horse Show, claiming first prize in the €200,000 Longines King George V Gold Cup ahead of Netherlands’ Wout-Jan Van Der Schans and USA’s Lillie Keenan.
It was an enthralling renewal of the historic class, with 48 of the world’s top riders coming forward to do battle for the feature Grand Prix class of the show.
A total of 13 riders went clear over Kelvin Bywater’s track in the first round, including British hopes Anna Power and Tim Stockdale. The second to go in the jump-off, Katherine Dinan and Nougat du Vallet (Scherif d’Elle x Saphir d’Elle) of the USA, produced the first double clear in 44.38 seconds. Anna Power and Blazer B (Tombola x Lord Z), fifth to go, were the next to jump clear, but they couldn’t catch Katherine.
Tim Stockdale and Fleur de L’Aube (Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Alcatraz) then took the lead, knocking more than 2 seconds off the leading time, but a few horses later, Tim’s dream of winning a second King George ended when Ireland’s Bertram Allen and his grey mare Molly Malone V (Kannan x Cavalier) shaved a quarter of a second off Stockdale’s time.
Hickstead-based Shane Breen produced by far the swiftest time of the competition with the aptly named Golden Hawk (Vigo d’Arsouilles x Chin Chin), but four faults cost the Irishman the win.
Wout-Jan Van Der Schans and Capetown (Oklund x Carlino) then took the lead from Bertram, before a storming round by Lillie Keenan and Super Sox (Salito x Silvio I) placed them right behind Wout-Jan on the leaderboard.
Billy Twomey has been the man to beat all week at Hickstead, having already netted three international wins. Making the most of being the last drawn, he powered round with Lizziemary (Cabri d’Elle x Accord II) to shave almost half a second off the leading time.
It was the chestnut mare’s first time competing in the International Arena at Hickstead, and what a debut she made. “Ordinarily horses need to know that arena, but she’s really brave and has a big rangy gallop that covers the ground, so it suits her," Billy said after their win.
The mare was originally produced by British rider Emma-Jo Slater. “She has done an unbelievable job and deserves credit,” Twomey added. "I was following the mare as a young horse and have a good relationship with her former owner Kim Barzilay - she gave me the horse on sale or return last October so I'm very grateful to her. She’s got another good horse in the yard at the moment so hopefully she’ll think of me!
“I'm just delighted how this mare performed - I've always felt she’s been knocking on the door, but not quite delivered. I’m very proud that she’s managed to win one of the most prestigious classes in the world. I had a good show in Dublin last week, where I was the leading rider – there is a lot to be said for when you’ve got your tail up and are full of confidence.”
Source: Press Release The All England Jumping Course, Hickstead // Picture © Craig Payne Photography
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