Twomey cleans up at Grand Palais

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BILLY Twomey has swept the boards in Paris taking first in Sunday morning’s class with Romanov and third with Tinka’s Serenade in the 200,000 euro Hermes Grand Prix.

The Champs Elysee was hectic over the weekend as portable stables were erected for the downtown show at the Grand Palais. Ireland excelled with Denis Lynch and Athina Onassis taking second in the pairs, Alexander Butler and Alex Duffy taking second in the under 25 pairs, and Duffy also winning Saturday’s main under 25 championship.

Fractions of a second separated Denis Lynch and Billy Twomey in the jump-off of the Prix de la Ville de Paris on Sunday morning.

However, because he finished just a small hoof’s distance behind, Lynch had to settle for sixth place in this class, which was won by Billy and his all-purpose Romanov.

The chestnut stallion can do everything, hold his own in the Irish team for the Nations Cup, which was won by the “Greens” in La Baule last year, or finish on the podium in a Grand Prix such as Leipzig, during the 2011 World Cup final, where he finished second....and also win a 1.45m jump-off at the Grand Palais.

Billy explained “I am especially happy for my horse, because he has not been jumping so well recently. He is coming back into form and has won the jump-off here. Everything is going great.”

Before finally taking control of the class, the first place had been held by the Ukrainian rider Katharina Offel (Charlie) who had just taken a tenth of a second of the time set by Marcus Ehning (Sabrina) and RogerYves Bost (Nikyta d’Elle), the joint leaders who had finished within the same hundredth of a second

“I didn’t ask myself if it was possible to beat all those riders, I just had to try, that’s all there is to it. It’s always important to win a class in a “five star” competition, but this is a competition unlike any other, that’s for sure. In any case, I really like Paris; the city brings me luck.”

Later Billy collected another 30,000 euro for third place with Tinka’e Serenade in the Hermes Grand Prix which was won by Katharina Offel.

Jessica Kurten was also in the money and finished third with Vincente in Friday’s main class.

Robert Splaine, Ireland manager said: “Ireland excelled at the Grand Palais show. The fences were very big and our under 25 rider showed they can hold their own against the best in the world.”

Michael Whitaker, joint owner of Antello Z which jumped to victory with Duffy said the rider was excellent and he and Duffy would be major contenders for the Nations Cups this year.

Jessica Kurten meanwhile has acquired the former GB horse Voss which will make his debut at La Baule and will be viewed there by Robert Splaine.

Edouard de Rothschild who is trained by Kurten is delighted with his new instructor. Both Jessica and husband Eckhart are now based half an hour from the centre of Paris.