Cork-born Billy Twomey produced a dazzling display to win the five-star speed class at Antwerp in Belgium this afternoon.

The Irish rider, who just last week celebrated his 40th birthday, piloted Joe Flynn’s talented Irish-bred grey stallion Ardcolum Duke, and was fourth-last to jump in the 28-strong field.

Britain’s Michael Whitaker and JB’s Hot Property had earlier set a strong time of 62.31 seconds, but just ahead of Twomey, Belgium’s Wilm Vermeir left all the poles standing and came home in 62.25 seconds with the bay mare Hacienda d’Eversem, a seemingly unbeatable time.

However, Twomey and an in-form Ardcolum Duke not only made the track look easy but clipped almost two seconds off Vermeir’s time. As none of the following riders came close to equalling the Irish effort, Twomey claimed the trophy and 8,000 euro in prize money.

Jack Burns