19 June 2023
By Tom Collins
3-star Grand Prix victories for Billy Twomey and Shane Sweetnam who ended a very successful week for Irish athletes on a high
On Sunday evening, Irish riders claimed victory in CSI3* Grands Prix on both sides of the Atlantic. The first win came for Billy Twomey in the 1.55m Grand Prix in Bolesworth, England. Riding the 15-year-old stallion Chat Botte ED, owned in partnership between Twomey and Sue Davis, he proved unbeatable.
Twomey was one of three Irish riders to finish inside the top ten in the Grand Prix. Taking the runner-up spot was Jonathan Smyth and Mulvin Lui (ISH), owned by Noletta Smyth and Roy Craig, and in seventh place was Richard Howley and Consulent de Prelet Z, owned by HK Horses.
With 13 combinations progressing into the jump-off and only six riders jumping clear in the final phase, the pressure was on. Howley posted the fastest time of the day, 46.36 seconds, however, a fence down kept him from topping the podium. Twomey had the second fastest time, 48.75 seconds, and left all the coloured poles in place to win the class. Smyth was not far behind in a time of 50.10 seconds.
On Thursday in Bolesworth, Smyth won the 1.45m ranking class with Mulvin Lui, and on Friday Edward Doyle Jr was seventh in another 1.45m ranking class with Quick Bill (ISH), owned by Edward Doyle.
The second Grand Prix victory of the day came for Shane Sweetnam in the 1.50m CSI3* in Lexington, riding Gilona AO, owned by Popish Farms, LLC, Seabrook LLC and Shane Sweetnam. One of only four combinations to jump clear in the opening round and make it into the jump-off, Sweetnam jumped another faultless round in a time of 39.91 seconds.
The home nation filled the rest of the podium with Audrey Schulze placing second in 41.2 seconds and Molly Ashe Cawley coming third. Irish riders Darragh Kerins and Richie Moloney finished in 13th and 14th place respectively.
At the same venue on Thursday, in the 1.45m ranking class, Sweetnam and Moloney filled three places inside the top ten. Sweetnam was fifth with Irandole Du Flot, owned by Seabrook LLC, and Moloney was seventh with Rocksy Music (ISH) and eighth with Skelwith Diamond Lady. Both of Moloney’s rides are owned by Equinimity LLC. Sweetnam had another fifth-place finish with Irandole Du Flot on Friday in the 1.45m ranking class.
Calgary CSI5* Success
Conor Swail had a very successful show at the CSI5* in Calgary, Canada. He got the week off to a strong start coming second the 1.55m ranking class with Nadal Hero & DB, owned by Mannon Farm. Darragh Kenny and Hamrah Van Het, owned by Heathman Farm LLC, were eighth in the same class.
Swail followed up with another runner-up finish on Friday, this time with Theo 160 in the 1.50m ranking class. The 11-year-old gelding is owned by Team Philippaerts and Swail. Irish rider Robert Blanchette finished seventh and eighth with Chardonnay, owned by RTS LLC, in the 1.50m ranking classes on both Saturday and Sunday. In the 1.60m Grand Prix on Sunday, Daniel Coyle was best of the Irish finishing in 10th place with Ivory TCS, owned in partnership between Coyle and Ariel Grange.
French win for Fitzpatrick
Competing in the CSI3* in Maubeuge, France, Kilkenny native Susan Fitzpatrick won the 1.45m ranking class with Keatingstown Skorphults Joker, owned by Sharon Fitzpatrick. The same combination also finished ninth in the 1.50 ranking class.
Riding for the Minister for Defence, Comdt. Geoff Curran had a good show with Tempo Manor (ISH). This combination was sixth in the 1.45m ranking class on Thursday and sixth again in the 1.45m ranking class on Friday. They also finished fifth in the 1.55m Grand Prix on Sunday.
Jonathan Gordon was the highest placed Irish rider in the Grand Prix, finishing second with Andrea Hoppe’s 10-year-old mare Capri. Adam Carey completed the trio of Irish riders in the top ten in the Grand Prix, joining Gordon and Curran to finish ninth with Quebello D, owned by Philippe Berthol.