Equestrianism: Fantasia success follows nightmare for Twomey

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The Independent Online

Billy Twomey rode Fantasia to win the Sylvia Barnes Memorial Cup, yesterday's opening international class of the Horse of the Year Show.

The 31-year-old Irishman has been making up for lost time, having missed four months of competition after a horrible fall at Grobbendonk in Belgium, where he was concussed after the stallion Pikap fell on top of him. Pikap, who is thought to have broken a pastern as he took off for the fence where he fell, had to be put down. "I was lucky, I just broke some ribs," Twomey said. He was also unconscious for 40 minutes.

Twomey is a regular visitor to the Horse of the Year Show and he has a fine record, having won no fewer than six classes here in the previous three years. His compatriot Cian O'Connor filled third place on Baloufina.

The two Irishmen were divided by Britain's Andrew Davies, who made good use of the wild card he secured at Towerlands in Essex by finishing runner-up here on Sir Graditz.

Home riders dominated the later Thomas Bates and Son Classic, with Guy Williams on Torinto van de Middelstede defeating the long-time leaders, Tim Stockdale and the grey mare Lou Lou, by 0.44sec. Williams acquired the eight-year-old bay just before the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead.