As the final of the Horseware/TRM Grand Prix draws closer the battle for the coveted title intensified last weekend as Francis Connors rode to victory at Maryville Stables aboard Hyperion. In claiming the win, Connors not only took the lion’s share of €5,000 in the host sponsored class but he also added an extra ten points to his leaderboard tally, which means that he now lies in third place on the overall leaderboard ahead of the penultimate round.
Connors said; ‘’I am delighted with the win as Hyperion has been unlucky in the last few rounds. I am especially happy for Bobby Flynn who has been a very loyal owner to me for many years. It is always difficult going mid- way in the jump-off, but I knew that there was a few fast combinations to follow, so I needed to put in a fast round to put the pressure on and thankfully it paid off’’.
Owned and bred by Bobby Flynn, Hyperion is an 11-year-old gelding by Lux Z and out of a Cruising mare, Cruiseway. The dam Cruiseway was also campaigned by Connors and was a prolific winner at Grand Prix level. This year Connors and Hyperion have clocked up a series of good result on the national circuit which includes; third place in the Munster Stadium Showjumping and second in the Grand Prix in Bannow & Rathangan.
Course designer Tom Holden set a fitting course for the 29 listed starters, but with the pressure on, just three combinations of the eight that proceeded to the jump-off delivered double clears.
Winner of the earlier 1.30m class, Tallow native Paul Beecher was first to take it on with Richard Howley’s Cruising Star, but faults at 11b in a time of 50.52 seconds saw him take sixth place.
The first double clear came courtesy of Peter Moloney riding Ennisnag Stud’s Esi Carvalho. A careful round in 54.50 meant that he took the lead and then eventual third.
Despite Moloney putting the pressure on, his lead was short-lived as Francis Connors blistering round with Hyperion saw him shave over 10 seconds off the target when he crossed the line clear in 44.72 seconds to take the win.
Chasing points Ger O’ Neill didn’t hang about with Ivor Broderick KMS Clintland, but despite a gallant attempt, a clear in 49.88 failed to demote Connors and he had to settle for second on this occasion.
Double handed in the jump-off, all eyes were on the current leader Vincent Byrne as he took it on first with Angela Taggart’s, Caugherty. Francis Connors Byrne’s hopes of a win were dashed early however when faulting at fence four. A fast time of 46.39 was enough to see him finish in fifth place.
Returning with Mr Rockefeller Byrne had another chance to change the standings, but four faults in a time of 45.37 saw him slot into fourth place. An extra four points when finishing in fourth is enough to keep him top of the leaderboard, just ahead of his closest rival Ger O’ Neill before the penultimate round in The Meadows next weekend.
Horseware/TRM Grand Prix at Maryville Stables
Sponsored by Maryville Stables
1st Hyperion/F. Connors 0/0/44.72
2nd KMS Clintland/G. O’Neill 0/0 49.88
3rd Esi Carvalho/P. Moloney 0/0 54.50
4th Mr Rockefeller/V. Byrne 0/4 45.37
5th Caugherty/V. Byrne 0/4 46.39
6th Cruising Star/P. Beecher 0/4 50.52