Ireland’s Billy Twomey went one better than yesterday when he and Sue Davies’s Anastasia took the £1,200 first prize in the Windsor and Eton Express Grade A class, the main competition at Royal Windsor today.

Persistent rain throughout the day had made the going difficult, but seven riders coped with the conditions to produce an exciting jump-off.

Billy did not appear to hurry Anastasia, but their smooth round was still good enough to hold off a strong challenge from Will Funnell, who lost time when Cortaflex Machiavelli spooked after an official almost walked into his path. Third place went to Mark Armstrong, with a good round on Elise.

“I didn’t push Anastasia too hard, because the conditions were bad and the fences were big enough,” said Billy, who is in terrific form at the moment.

Although his current Nations Cup ride is the stallion Luidam, Anastasia – also a former Horse & Hound Foxhunter finalist – is a good back-up.

She won the grand prix at Great Leighs last year, was runner-up in the equivalent class at HOYS and finished the winter season with a win at Sheffield’s British Open Championships.

“She’s as hard as nails; you could compete her every day of the week and she’d love it,” he added of the German-bred chestnut mare.