Billy Twomey completed an incredible five days for Irish riders at the five-star Royal International show at Hickstead in the UK today (Sunday), with victory in the curtain-closing €200,000 Longines King George V Gold Cup.
A thrilling 13 horse jump-off saw Twomey snatch the famous winner’s trophy with the 10-year-old mare Lizziemary. They were last to go against the clock and looking to catch Dutchman Wout-Jan Van Der Schans, who had set what looked an unbeatable time with the gelding Capetown. Incredibly Twomey shaved almost half-a-second off the target to score one of the biggest wins of his career.
A delighted Twomey commented: “It was her [Lizziemary] first time jumping in that ring but she’s done really well. Ordinarily horses need to know that arena, but she’s really brave and has a big rangy gallop that covers the ground, so it suits her. I'm just delighted how the mare performed, I've always felt she’s been knocking on the door but not quite delivered. I’m very proud that she’s managed to win one of the most prestigious classes in the world. I had a good show in Dublin last week where I was the leading rider – there is a lot to be said about when you’ve got your tail up and are full of confidence.
Three Irish riders finished inside the top 10, with Wexford’s Bertram Allen briefly holding the lead with Molly Malone before eventually finishing fourth. Tipperary’s Shane Breen and Golden Hawk maintained the form which saw them finish as runners-up in the Dublin Horse Show Grand Prix and finished ninth at Hickstead. They posted the fastest time of the jump-off but one fence down denied them victory.
Twomey’s Gold Cup win was his fourth of the week at Hickstead, where Ireland’s David Simpson and Elizabeth Power also scored victories, while Robert Spaine’s Irish team finished as runners-up in the Nations Cup on Friday.
I would just like to take this opportunity to thank all of my sponsors who support me week in and week out, to allow me to compete at these great shows. My thanks go to Amerigo, Belmondo, Bloomfields Horse Boxes, Equiline, Connolly's RED MILLS, Cleanround, EuroBale, Equiform, easibed, Flexineb, FMBS Therapy Systems, Haygain, Parlanti Riding Boots, Samshield, Veredus and Zebra Products