Cork-born Billy Twomey accounted for two of today’s three major classes at the five-star show in Hickstead, England, while fellow Irish rider David Simpson added a third victory, writes Jack Burns.
Thirty-nine year old Twomey kicked off Ireland’s victory trail this morning (Saturday) with a win on Terry Payne’s gelding Diaghilev in the jump-off class, the Bunn Leisure Salver, heading a 42 strong-class and outpacing Britain’s Guy Williams and Depardieu by one-and-a-half seconds in the seven strong jump-off round.
Derry’s David Simpson followed Twomey’s win with a first place in Hickstead’s famous Queen Elizabeth II Cup, destroying a British-dominated field of international riders with one of only three double clear rounds achieved in the class, and a final time of 47.85 seconds, a full second ahead of UK runner-up Holly Smith on Lammy Beach.
Simpson was riding his own German-bred 11 year-old grey mare Chessy 17.
Twomey returned to the famous All England Jumping Course at the West Sussex venue this evening with Michael Bates’s nine year-old gelding Thomas, to contest the last class of the day, The British Speed Classic.
Once again facing a top international field, Twomey had the advantage of being last to jump, and managed to shave a hundredth of a second off the time set by British Olympic team gold medallist Ben Maher with Aristo Z, to collect the trophy.
Today’s win brought Twomey’s Hickstead tally to a total of three, having won the show’s opening class on Thursday, also with the gelding Thomas.
Also featuring in the British Speed Classic was Irish rider Shane Breen, who finished in fifth place with Acoustik Solo du Baloubet.
The Longines King George V Gold Cup takes place at Hickstead on Sunday afternoon.