Irish star Billy Twomey wasted little time returning to winning ways as he shone on day one of the Equestrian.com Liverpool International Horse Show.
Billy, last year’s Liverpool Grand Prix champion, took Saturday’s four-star jump-off class, sponsored by Horseware Ireland, after a brilliant display on the stallion Ardcolum Duke.
Their time of 30.64 seconds eclipsed the effort of Italy’s Emanuele Guadiano, who was first to go in a 12-horse jump off and set a testing challenge at the Echo Arena, but one of Ireland’s top riders prevailed to land the £7,000 top prize, with another Irishman – Shane Breen – third, while Britain’s Laura Renwick took fourth place on her 42nd birthday.
“I am delighted with the win,” Billy said. “The horse jumped amazingly in what was a really fast class.
“This show holds very fond memories for me, and it is nice to get off to a winning start.
“He is an amazing horse, very consistent wherever he competes. I really chanced it at the last fence, and he jumped it well. Credit to him as much as anything.
“Emanuele put down a really good marker, and we all had to chase him. I had to give it a go, and luckily it came off. The horse knows his job – he is always so competitive – and he is on form again.
“He is really fast, naturally, and he always tries to stay careful. I really chanced my arm to the last fence, and he really looked after me.”
And looking ahead to the rest of the weekend, Billy added: “It is an amazing show here. It’s a great atmosphere – the crowd really get right behind it.
“Diaghilev (his Liverpool Grand Prix winner) brings some decent form into this event, especially after winning the grand prix in La Coruna, and hopefully we can repeat last year’s performance.”
Showjumping action in Liverpool across the next three days will be interspersed with performances that hold a wide family appeal, including music from the UK’s no 1 ABBA tribute band ‘Revival’, the Shetland Pony Grand National, world-class carriage driving, the Black Fire Girls and so much more.
And New Year’s Eve itself promised to be an unforgettable night, with exclusive acts lined up, including Collabro, the world’s number one musical theatre boy band and the winners of Britain’s Got Talent series 8, plus the Equitop Myoplast Puissance, which is always a show-stopper, and a spectacular indoor display of fireworks.
All tickets give access to the show’s shopping village from 9am each day, with the shopping experience featuring a fantastic range of products from high-end equestrian outlets, exclusive fashion retailers, unusual giftware and beautiful things for the home. There will be many food and drink outlets on-site, including an upstairs Champagne Bar and the new Mersey View restaurant, which is open all day and suitable for all the family.
Rider signing sessions, meanwhile, have already proved a big hit, with fans flocking to meet four members of the famous showjumping Whitaker family – John, Michael, William and Jack.