Billy Twomey took full advantage of being last to jump in tonight’s accumulator class at the Horse Of The Year Show in Birmingham to land first prize in an event dominated by Irish riders.

In front of a full house, Twomey’s masterful performance toppled long-time leader Julien Epaillard of France whose time of 43.88 had held sway for most of the contest.

Riding twelve-year old stallion Ardcolum Duke, the Irish rider outpaced Epaillard (Quatrin Del La Roque LM) by almost a full second to net Ireland’s first win at the meeting.

Speaking after the win, Twomey said that he is always “quietly confident” when competing with Ardcolum Duke, and he paid tribute to his mount for clearing the final fence which had thwarted so many before him. “The horse is a really competitive horse and he wins a lot of classes on the international circuit”, he said. “Everything worked out well. All the turns worked out well and he really tried hard to jump that last Joker because that was a decent height.”

Third place went to Great Britain’s John Whitaker who had delighted the home following when almost catching Epaillard with Echo of Light.

Anthony Condon and Balzac, who held second place for a time, finished fourth, with Cian O’Connor and Aramis finishing fractions behind Condon in fifth. Mike Dunne.