Butler rallies round to claim Grand Prix title
Alexander Butler claimed the GAIN/Alltech Autumn Grand Prix League title in a nail-biting jump-off against Captain Michael Kelly at the Cavan International show recently.
Kelly held the lead going into the final leg and managed to keep a foot perfect round in the first round with the Minister for Defence's mare Mo Chroi, which meant that Butler needed to follow suit.
In the jump-off, Captain Kelly's strategy was to stay clear in order to put maximum pressure on those coming behind him, including Alexander Butler and Greg Broderick.
Former national champion Michael Duffy held the early lead with Touch of Chilli on a time of 30.35. Duffy, who is now based with Shane Breen in Hickstead, was knocked off the top spot by Greg Broderick, who steered Rincarina to a slightly faster time of 30.33.
Alexander Butler then was left with no other option but to storm around in the clear to be in with any chance of winning.
He and Will Wimble set out at a blistering pace, turning tight and taking strides out to gasps from the crowd. Their efforts were not in vain as the pair stopped the clock at 29.40, enough to take the class and the league title.
Although Butler is a former national champion, this is his first Grand Prix League Championship win, while Harold MacGahern's Will Wimble also claimed the Leading Horse title.
The 13-year-old grey is owned and bred by Harold McGahern from Rincoola, Granard, Co Longford.