Irish horses and riders had a superb weekend in the UK at the weekend, with no less than four victories in the inaugural Liverpool International Horse Show
Irish model and businesswoman Aisling Byrne took the amateur show jumping Grand Prix on Saturday, the night after Tyrone’s Peter Smyth took Friday’s Puissance competition, atop Irish Sport Horse Cavalier Rusticana and were the only competitors to clear the final big red wall at a height of 7’ 1”.
County Down’s Kirsten Farr added another win for Ireland in Sunday morning’s opening Amateur Speed class, before Cork’s Billy Twomey rounded off the three days with a win in the Grand Prix aboard Diaghilev.
The Liverpool show took place for the first time at the City’s Echo Arena.
Byrne, who organises tours to Ireland for US and Canadian visitors and who also works with Cecilia Holman Lee’s model agency in Limerick, won with her Irish Sport Horse Wellview Classic Dream. Byrne, a former Miss Longford, drove away with a brand new Mini Cooper car as part of her winners’ prize, while a second Irish rider, Lucinda Roche, finished as runner-up with another Irish-bred horse.
She said: “We were working towards this show over Christmas and we were thrilled to be here. “We are so proud that our horse is Irish-bred, we have had her for a number of years and she is the yard favourite.
“She is a great ambassador for an Irish horse because of her attitude, she is so honest and she really tries. The Longford-born model also told how she manages to juggle a top flight sporting career with her work commitments, “I have a tour company called Journey Through Ireland, which brings American and Canadian clients into Ireland.
“It works out well with the time difference, I do a lot of my work at night time and this gives me a chance to ride early in the morning.”
Twomey beat British superstar John Whitaker by almost two seconds to take the title along with over €20,000 euro in prize money. The 38-year-old Carrigaline native said: “I could see a few of the others go on the monitor, so I had an idea what I had to do. “However with another rider to go after me, I had to put down a good marker. “It has been an unbelievable show, the organizers deserve a serious amount of credit,” he said.
Twomey also finished fourth in Sunday’s Speed Class at Liverpool with Joe Flynn’s Irish Sport Horse, Ardcolum Duke, while Tipperary’s Denis Lynch slotted into sixth place with Icon D’Or.
Ireland was well represented at the Liverpool show, with the amateur Grand Prix class being sponsored by The Irish Horse Gateway, a Horse Sport Ireland initiative set-up in 2013 to connect the world to the Irish Horse.
It is the first point of contact for overseas clients seeking information on sourcing Irish horses and ponies for Equestrian sport and leisure.
Kilkenny’s Marion Hughes meanwhile, scored a win at Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday with the Irish Sport Horse, Heritage HHS Fortuna. Hughes also finished as runner-up in the Grand Prix at the same venue with the nine-year-old gelding Laith.