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Ireland’s Paul Kennedy and the home-bred Cartown Danger Mouse (Maddy) scored a breath-taking win in the Equerry Horse Feeds Bolesworth grand prix on the final day of Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show.

This combination had already scored a brilliant four-star victory in the Watts Commercial Finance competition earlier in the week and when they produced a foot-perfect first round clear in a sharp time to earn pole position, the odds considerably shortened for a grand prix win.

Chasing fast times set by next placed Billy Twomey (Kimba Flamenco/38.65) and John Whitaker (Cassinis Chaplin/40.07) Paul soaked up the pressure like a sponge to bring the daughter of Harlequin Du Carel home in 38.56.

“Maddy has jumped well all week and although she has her own style, she has a massive heart and tries for you.

“I knew just what we had to and didn’t feel any pressure coming down the tunnel, but when I saw the time flash up on the scoreboard, I wasn’t sure we had won; it was so close.

“This is a day I’ll won’t forget in a hurry, as I never thought I would be standing ahead of two of my idols Billy Twomey and John Whitaker,” said Paul, who is based with Dave and Sharon Quigley in nearby Whitchurch.

Billy Twomey was also delighted with Kim Barzilay’s home-bred Kimba Flamenco, a nine-year-old who is by Billy’s former top ride Je T’Aime Flamenco.

“The course proved difficult enough and tested jumping ability and scope. I’m disappointed not to win, but Kimba is just stepping up to this level and he performed really well,” said Billy.

John Whitaker was also moving up Cassinis Chaplin up a gear and was delighted to post one of their best results.

“He’s a big, strong horse with plenty of power,” said John.

Kelvin Bywater set a suitably testing 13-fence first round course which included lots of committed distances and a couple of lines offering riders a choice of strides.

Apart from the 16-jumping-efforts required to post a clear round, the time allowed also proved a stern test with seven combinations finishing over the 68 seconds limit.

Frustratingly, four of those had jumped clear to incur a single time fault, and four of those combinations producing first round clears had run it close by finishing less than one second off that time allowed.

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With the rules of the competition dictating the top 25% of the 41-strong field, or all clear rounds qualify for the next round, two of the fastest carrying a single penalty did progress to the final round to compete alongside the nine combinations finishing clear.

Two other riders also produced double clears, William Whitaker (Illusionata Van’t Meulenhof) and Pedro Junqueira Muylaert (Prince Royal Z MFS) filling fourth and fifth places.

Good second round clears secured sixth and sevenths place for Ireland’s Richard Howley (Dolores) and Mexican rider Eugenio Garza Perez (Pappa Ante Portas 2) who finished on one time fault apiece.

Don’t miss the full report from Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show in next Thursday’s Horse & Hound, on sale 21 June 2018.