Equestrianism: Twomey keeps Irish in front

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The Independent Online

Billy Twomey produced another polished win for Ireland at the Royal Windsor Horse Show when he rode Anastasia to victory in the Windsor and Eton Express Stakes. He and the nine-year-old mare had been runner-up to another Irishman, Peter Charles on Pershing, here on Thursday before taking the top prize yesterday with another stylish round.

Rain had fallen steadily for most of the day and the ground was decidedly squelchy as Anastasia jumped her winning round. "It didn't seem to bother my horse," Twomey said, "but you couldn't go crazy fast, you had to be careful on the turns." Nobody could catch him, however, though William Funnell made a spirited attempt on Cortaflex Machiavelli. He finished 0.19 seconds back in second place, ahead of Mark Armstrong on Elise.

Twomey, who based himself in England eight years ago when he was 18, spent most of the time at Michael Whitaker's yard before setting up on his own last year. "I owe Michael an awful lot," he said of his former mentor, "and the success I had with him has helped to bring in good owners." Sue Davies, the owner of Anastasia, was one of them. She has strengthened Twomey's string by acquiring Luidam, the former mount of John Popely.

Luidam could give Twomey his first place in a championship team this year. The Irishman is hoping to be selected for August's European Show Jumping Championships in Germany, where Ireland will be defending the team title.

Tim Stockdale had a second outing here with Fresh Direct Parcival, who seemed to be back to form when finishing ninth in the first round. Tomorrow the grey will be leaving for the Super League in Rome.

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