Emotional grand prix win for ‘freakishly’ talented stallion’s late owner

  • From the moment Billy Twomey and the “freakishly” talented Chat Botte ED delivered their effortless first round, Cavago’s £16,500-to-the-winner CSI3* grand prix at the Bolesworth International (14-18 June) looked like a foregone conclusion.

    The 15-year-old stallion’s complete package of startling scope and natural ground speed gives him every advantage – and it was apparent that in the absence of a mistake, nothing was going to catch him.

    The smart money was on the on-form Irish in this finale, three of whom had made the top 25% to go through to the jump-off. Joining Billy were the quick Richard Howley with Consulent De Prelet Z and the show’s breakthrough star Jonathan Smyth, who had won his first rankings class with the lovely Mulvin Lui earlier in the week.

    Of the 13 riders to make the cut, three carried through time-faults from the first round, the rest on clean sheets. The game was on when first of the clears Yazmin Davis delivered a competitive round on Zanbowa Z.

    Predictions soon began to play out when Richard Howley smashed the time target, scything more than five seconds of Yazmin’s lead, but losing the gamble to a pole at the final fence. It was Guy Williams who put in a redeeming bid for the home side with Ernie Of Greenhill Z, taking over the lead with 0.35sec in hand. But the Irish fought back, as 25-year-old Jonathan found an extra second with his game 13-year-old gelding.

    “My horse is a little bit slow and I thought Billy would probably win it. I don’t know who invites the Irish, that’s all I can say!” Guy said.

    Bolesworth International: ‘An emotional win’

    Having earned himself the closing slot with the fastest first round, Billy had the advantage of both tactics and horsepower. The spectacular stallion gave the fences inches to spare, and Billy came home as the quickest clear, and fourth fastest time of the class, to overturn Jonathan’s lead by 1.35sec.

    “I knew I just had to be a little bit tighter than Jonathan to win it as Chat Botte’s a fast horse over the ground,” Billy said. “He is an outstanding jumper who’s always been freakish over a fence.”

    Jonathan said he’d have “been happy with second place” before the class started.

    “My horse has jumped fantastically all week – he’s done two classes and won one and been second in the other,” he said.

    Billy’s Chat Botte was bought by his long-term owner Sue Davies, who died this year, from Johnny Pals five years ago, when he was already jumping grands prix. The pair have had success up to five-star, including a recent good run in the UAE, where they were placed in every grand prix they jumped.

    “It’s an emotional win,” said Billy. “Bolesworth is only 20 minutes from Pewit Hall, where Sue used to live. I sometimes pick up my phone and have to stop myself from trying to call her, as I always called her after a win.

    “She was a huge supporter of mine for 22 years, which is almost unheard of in our sport.”

    The win was a return to the ring for Chat Botte (Casall x Darco), who has had a break while he’s been used for stud duties.

    “He hasn’t done a lot recently. This is his first big show back,” Billy said. “He’s popular as a stallion. His offspring are beautiful, he really stamps them.”

    You can read the full report from Bolesworth International Horse Show in this week’s Horse & Hound magazine, in the shops on Thursday 22 June.

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