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Irish rider Billy Twomey (pictured right) started where he left off at Towerlands when he won the HOYS.co.uk Cup, the first international class at this year’s Horse of the Year Show.

In a strong 11-horse jump-off, a daring turn inside to the third-from-last vertical beat the leading time from Robert Smith on Kalusha by 0.7sec and no one else could get close to this pair.

Billy will keep Sue Davies’s 13-year-old Dutch-bred Whinnie Jackson to smaller classes at this show.

“I jumped him in the Super League Nations Cups in Lucerne and Rome and although he went well, he’s not that experienced and it unsettled him. He’s had a break and he feels brand new again,” said the Cheshire-based rider.

The Vinopolis Speed Stakes gave British fans the first chance to see Nick Skelton and the Hales’s wonderful stallion, Arko III, for the first time since the pair came so close in the Athens Olympics.

And Nick and Arko did not let them down. A masterful performance that included two fantastic turns inside put them into a winning lead, 1sec ahead of Robert Whitaker’s great round on Nicolette.

Nick is now looking towards an appearance in the World Cup final with Arko.

“I’m off to America for an invitational show in Syracuse, then I’ll do the Toronto World Cup qualifier, Paris, Belfast and Olympia,” he said.