Equestrianism: Twomey rides his luck to victory

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BILLY TWOMEY, the 22-year-old stable jockey to Michael Whitaker, gave a fluent exhibition of his talent when he rode Huntingtown to win the Great Northern Championship yesterday.

Twomey had his moment of luck in the Great Yorkshire Show, when a pole rose in the air only to fall back into its supporting cups at the penultimate jump-off fence, before he gained his victory by a 2.94sec margin. Robert Bevis and True Hero, who is back in action after a short time off due to a back problem, had been first into the marathon jump-off of 15 horses. Having led for a long while, he was pushed back to runner-up by Twomey. The only other clear jump-off round was achieved by Paul Barker on nine- year-old Kildalton Lad, who had made his first appearance in the vast ring here on Tuesday and seems to have taken to it with alacrity.

Di Boddy, the new course builder here, had set a serious test in Tuesday's main class - but she was far too lenient yesterday when 17 of the 22 horses jumped clear. Two withdrew before the jump-off, but it was still a long- drawn out contest.

On Tuesday the water proved the problem fence but yesterday, with an easier approach and a shorter length, it looked almost facile. Poles, however, did begin to fall once time became the decisive factor in the jump-off.

Both Whitaker brothers - John on Virtual Village Steps Helsinki and Michael on Prince of Wales - made their only errors when taking a short turn into the double, which proved to be the key fence in the deciding round.

The Whitakers will be riding the same horses today when they contest the Midland Bank Cock o' the North Championship.