Equestrian: Twomey and Breen shine to seal hat-trick for Irish stars
Billy Twomey and Shane Breen brought the Irish tally to three wins at the Horse of the Year Show in Birmingham on Saturday.
Twomey steered the nine-year-old bay mare Wings Sublieme to top the Thistledown Stakes, pipping French woman Eugenie Angot with Atlete van't Heike. And Breen's stallion, Balloon, continued his run of great form when clinching victory in the Accumulator when more than a second faster than runner-up Guy Williams for Britain with Larino.
It was Dermott Lennon who kicked off the Irish hat-trick with another super-fast performance from the mare, Loughview Lou Lou, on Friday. But the pair had to settle for sixth in yesterday's Vinopolis Speed Horse of the Year event.
At the Athina Onassis International in Rio de Janeiro on Friday night, Denis Lynch pocketed €6,250 when topping the Accumulator. But both the Tipperary man and Jessica Kuerten faulted in Saturday's big-money Grand Prix, Kuerten's horse, Vincente, leaving one fence on the floor while Lynch's All-Star picked up 12 faults, so neither qualified for the second round.
Switzerland's Steve Guerdat and his London 2012 gold medal-winning ride Nino des Buissonnets scooped the €330,000 winner's purse ahead of Australia's Edwin Tops-Alexander (Itot du Chateau), who earned €200,000 for runner-up spot, while Italy's Clarissa Crotta (West Side) took home €150,000 for third.
Ireland's younger generation of riders also flexed their muscle yesterday. Riding Zensation, 17-year-old Bertram Allen won the 2-Star Grand Prix at Barbizon in France while Kellie Allen (19) recorded her first senior Grand Prix success partnering her father's Cara Touch in the latest leg of the Gain/Alltech Autumn series at Kernan's Equestrian Centre in Crossmaglen.