Up-and-coming Irish rider Paul Kennedy has won the Equerry Horse Feeds Bolesworth Grand Prix – beating the biggest names in showjumping.

Homebred horse

The 24-year-old was last to go out of 11 riders in the jump-off, and he held his nerve to knock fellow countryman Billy Twomey off the top spot by nine hundredths of a second.

What made his win even more impressive is the young rider was competing on a homebred mare, who his co-owns with his mum.

Career high

“To be honest, I didn’t feel the pressure so much,” said Paul. “I was very calm. I have a really good team, and they had it all worked out. I was coming into the arena I knew exactly what I had to.”

“This win has to be right up there at the top in terms of my career”.

The Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show gets bigger and better each year and its spectacular venue is on a par with top European shows. The five-day event is run by Nina Barbour, who also runs Liverpool International.

Second-placed Billy has enjoyed great success at the Liverpool show, having won the Grand Prix there twice. It looked like he had done enough to add Bolesworth to his list of achievements, however Paul had other ideas.

Olympic legend

“Credit to Paul,” said Billy. “His mare has been jumping well all show, and he was probably the favourite today.”

Olympic rider and all-round legend John Whitaker was third in the Grand Prix with Cassinis Chaplin, while John’s nephew William was fourth on Ilusionata van ‘T Meulenhof.

You can watch this exciting competition on Horse & Country TV and Amazon Video. Bolesworth 2018: CSI4* Grand Prix premieres on Sunday 24 June at 7pm.