Italy’s Alberto Zorzi had posted what looked an unbeatable target of clear in 38.64 seconds with Fair Light van’t Heike, however Twomey gauged his round to perfection, crossing the line clear in 38.38. There was a heart-stopping moment for the Irish rider as Diaghilev had a rub at the last fence, but as Twomey looked back when crossing the line, all poles were still in place and the Irish celebrations could begin.
Speaking afterwards, a delighted Billy Twomey commented:
“Diaghilev jumped fantastic. It was a really tough course with just eight clears in the first round and the jump-off too was big, as you could see with just five double clears in the end. We had a bit of a rub at the last fence, it was a really tall vertical – but you need a bit of luck in this game, i’m really happy. Diaghilev is such a versatile horse, he has won at all levels – Derby’s and Grand Prix’s. I’m delighted for his owners Judith and Terry Payne who also bred the horse, a five-star Grand Prix win is very special.
Twomey recently made further gains on the world ranking list – moving up four places to No.44 and now has his sights set on the world’s top 30.
“The aim is to get back inside the top 30 and the points gained for this win will certainly help,” he added.
The result crowns a memorable year for Twomey and Diaghilev. They began 2016 with victory in the inaugural Liverpool International Horse Show Grand Prix back in January and were also winners of the Hamburg Grand Prix in May, while in July, they claimed the Bunn Leisure Salver at Hickstead in the UK.