Irish eyes were smiling on day one of the Liverpool International Horse Show as crowds flocked to the city’s Echo Arena.
The opening four-star international class, a two-phase competition sponsored by Horse and Country TV, went to Newmarket-based Irishman Peter Moloney and Calimero Van’T Roth in a time of 27.61 seconds.
But they were pushed all the way by an in-form British trio of Louise Saywell, Amanda Derbyshire and Laura Renwick, who also broke the 30-second barrier.
Louise and Feigtling finished tied second with Amanda and Lady Maria BH on 27.68 seconds, while Laura guided Mhs Washington home in 29.36 to ensure a thrilling start to three days of world-class showjumping.
Reflecting on his win, a delighted Peter said: “I was early to go in the class, and I couldn’t have done much more in terms of the time. I thought maybe I might have been beaten, but we managed to hold on.
“We had quite a nice turn back to the second-last, and then a quick direct to the last, which is probably where we made the time. It’s my first time competing at Liverpool, and it is a fantastic show, which I knew it would be.”
The opening day began with an amateur two-phase competition, sponsored by Gatehouse, which went to Kerstin Deakin and Sunsolde.
Winners at last year’s Liverpool show, the combination again proved a class apart by posting a time of 37.86 seconds in the jump-off phase, proving almost seven seconds quicker than runner-up Tony Pearson on Lightning 67.
And there was also a podium place for Ireland’s Joanne Sloan-Allen, who took third place on Fairplay in a time of 44.70 seconds.