|A stunning performance from Cork’s Billy Twomey and Terry Payne’s gelding Diaghilev, saw them win the four-star Equestrian.com Liverpool Grand Prix title for the second year in-a-row, after a thrilling 10 horse jump-off which saw two Irish riders finish on the podium and three inside the top 10.
A packed audience at the Echo Arena on Merseyside saw Twomey at his brilliant best, as he outpaced Britain’s William Whitaker and Utamaro D Ecaussines who had posted what looked an unbeatable target of clear in 38.79 seconds. However Twomey and Diaghilev were in no mood to give up the crown they won 12 months ago. Some stunning turns and a gallop to the last, saw the Cork rider cross the line clear 37.32 when third last to go – a time which proved untouchable for those who followed and saw Twomey collect a winners prize of over €20,000.
“I am really delighted with the win,” Twomey said. “My horse went really well over the two rounds. Michael [Duffy] put down a good marker, but luckily, the jump-off round worked out pretty good for me. My horse is really competitive, and when you are turning he is always looking to find the fence. He can be fast in the jump-offs, and luckily he was a bit quicker than the others today. To the third fence, he was pretty sharp and maybe gained some time there.”
Twomey continued “He [Diaghilev] brought some decent form into this event – he won at La Coruna a few weeks ago. I gave him a day off on Sunday, and he repaid me with a really good performance.”
Galway’s Michael Duffy had held the early lead after an excellent clear against the clock with the Alan Burnell-owned Belcanto Z and their time of 40.55 saw them clinch third place on the podium. It was one of the biggest results of his career for 22-year-old Duffy from Turloughmore, collecting over €9,000 in the process.
PHOTO: Michael Duffy (right) and William Whitaker (left) drench winner Billy Twomey with Champagne in a glittering prize giving following the Equestrian.com Liverpool Grand Prix