Anthony Condon has become the first Irish rider to take the €100,000 Equerry Bolesworth International Grand Prix title.
The class attracted 43 top combinations from ten different countries, but just five jumped clear over Alan Wade’s tough track.
It was reigning champions Michel Hendrix and Baileys, from the Netherlands, who produced the first faultless performance. This was followed by clear rounds from William Whitaker (Fandango), Keith Shore (Mystic Hurricane) and Anthony Condon (Balzac).
Last in to the arena in round one was Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar riding Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot, who produced the fifth and final clear.
Fastest four faults
To make up the required numbers in the jump-off, five of the fastest four faulters qualified for the second round, including Michael Whitaker and Trevor Breen. Robert Whitaker and Catwalk IV also jumped again as they had just one time fault.
This made a total of 11 riders battling it out for their share of the €100,000 prize money, including three past winners. Riders rode in reverse order of their penalties and time from round one, which made for a dramatic jump-off.
Out of contention
The four faulters went first and Belgian’s Francois JR Mathy and Casanova De L’Herse produced the fastest clear, to put him in the lead in a time of 44.34sec.
They were then overtaken by Robert Whitaker who opted for a steady clear and added another time fault, to complete on two faults overall.
William Whitaker was first of the riders on a zero score, but two fences down saw him move out of contention. Then it was the turn of local rider Keith Shore who jumped a tactical clear to move up to the top of the leader board (53.53sec).
He didn’t stay in the lead for long, as Anthony knocked more than three and a half seconds off Keith’s time to take the lead with Balzac (49.86sec). Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Michel Hendrix managed to beat Anthony’s time, but both had poles down, which ensured a first international grand prix win at Bolesworth for Anthony.
“He was amazing in both rounds and I’m absolutely delighted with him,” said Anthony, who is based at Harthill Stud, just five minutes from Bolesworth. “Alan Wade built a really tough course and Keith set a good target in the jump-off. I was lucky enough to just pip him. All I’d wanted to do was try and jump a clear round and beat what was in front of me.”
“I won the Grand Prix when Bolesworth was a national show and have competed here every year since it started. It’s my local show and it’s absolutely fantastic with amazing facilities.”