It was an Irish night at Liverpool’s four-star Puissance competition on New Year’s Eve, with four of the top six places going to riders from that country.
The outright winner was Antrim’s 18 year-old Chris Megahey on the Irish-bred gelding Seaptarick Cruise Cavalier, who collected just over 4,000 euro for clearing the big red wall at 2m12 (seven feet).
Second place went to last year’s Liverpool Puissance winner, Peter Smyth from Co. Tyrone with yet another Irish-bred horse, Cavalier Rusticana, while equal third was claimed by David Simpson and Polystar I, with Billy Twomey and Diaghilev in sixth place.
Megahey, who shared the a Puissance win at London Olympia with Britain’s Holly Smith earlier this month on the same horse that gave him victory tonight, was pitted head-to-head in the fourth jump-off at Liverpool with Peter Smyth, and first to go, cleared the wall with inches to spare.
Smyth and Cavalier Rusticana were not so fortunate, mis-judging their approach and demolishing the bricks to end as runners-up.
Britain’s Smith settled this time for a joint third place alongside Simpson.
Megahey said afterwards: “”I am really happy. He is not a normal horse, he is very special.
“We’ve had him since he was an eight-year-old, and we have never quite found what to do with him. He evented for a while, and then I jumped him for a while, and we sort of fell into puissance. And I have to say, ever since we started, he has been a real star.
“I love the puissance. You get a little bit nervous with him, because you don’t know what he can do, but as long as you get him to the right spot, he will always try his best.
“The puissance is a competition that the crowd love, and the atmosphere in there was brilliant.”
Three other Irish riders took places in the Puissance, with Michael Kearins and Crass Clausi going out on their debut puissance performance in the second jump-off, to claim equal seventh place, while Billy Twomey and Diaghilev finished in sixth after two clear jump-off rounds, but a decision being made by the rider not to push the horse into a third round, with Monday’s Grand Prix in mind.
Shane Breen and Condor were in equal ninth after collecting four faults in the first round.