Butler crowned GAIN/Alltech Autumn Grand Prix League Champion after thrilling finale
- 9 November 2013, 09:01
ALEXANDER Butler claimed the GAIN/Alltech Autumn Grand Prix League title on Friday in the most dramatic fashion as the league went down to the wire between Butler and Capt. Michael Kelly at Cavan International show.
However, Butler provided a blistering jump off round to win the class and with it the 2013 Championship.
Kelly held the lead going into the final leg and managed to keep a foot perfect round in the first round with the great mare Mo Chroi which meant that Butler needed to follow suit.
In the jump off, Kelly concentrated on keeping clear to apply pressure to those coming behind him, one of them being Butler. Kelly broke the beam at 33.34 and went into provisional third place.
Former National Champion, Michael Duffy held the early lead with Touch of Chilli. Duffy, who is now based with Shane Breen in Hickstead, set a time of 30.35. It was not until Greg Broderick entered the ring that Duffy was knocked off the top spot as he steered Rincarina to a marginally quicker time of 30.33 to move into provisional pole position.
Alexander Butler then was left with no other option but to win the class if he wanted to win the league and Broderick had appeared to not leave much room with his very fast time.
Butler had other ideas however, as he and Will Wimble set out at a blistering pace turning tight and taking strides out. There was a gasp from the crowd as the pair went over the double and kept a tight line back to the second last fence and galloped to the last fence with a huge leap to stop the clock in 29.40 to take the class and the League.
Although Butler was a previous National Champion, this is his first Grand Prix League Championship win, while Harold MacGahern’s Will Wimble also claimed the leading Horse Title.
After the class an understandably delighted Butler commented to Irishsport.tv: ”It went right down to the wire. Michael (Kelly) was four points ahead of me coming into today and we were both clear. If I had been in the lead coming into the final, I’d say I’d have done the same as what he did tonight.
”My game plan going in wasn’t to win the class, I just wanted to concentrate on the League but when Michael went clear and went into third, I had to win the class. There was a bit of pressure on then but he’s a very careful horse and he was good in the jump off. He was good to me this evening to leave the fences up.
”Will Wimble is the horse that has brought me to where I am now. Everything in my career has revolved around him, he’s brought me to places that I might never get to go again. I’ve been on a few teams and been to loads of Shows abroad, won lots of Grand Prix, so we’ve got to find another one like him now which isn’t going to be easy.”
”We’re delighted for Alexander, he did a fantastic job and also Greg Broderick (2nd and also winner of the Welcome Stakes). These guys have had a fantastic year but it was super to see Alexander and Michael Kelly going clear in the first round because you were guaranteed a good jump off, it was great for crowd and for the people connected and super for Harold MacGahern.”
Holly Geraghty of Alltech also added; ”Alltech are delighted to be sponsoring this super league, as we countdown to the World Equestrian Games which take place in Normandy next year, this League really ties in well with that and we are just delighted to be here with GAIN Horse Feeds.”
The Cavan International Horse Show continues today (Saturday) and tomorrow (Sunday) with the highlight being the Cavan International Grand Prix. All International classes will be shown live on www.irishsport.tv.
GAIN/Alltech Autumn Grand Prix League – Cavan International
1. Will Wimble/Alexander Butler 0/0 29.40.
2. Rincarina/Greg Broderick 0/0 30.33.
3. Touch of Chilli/Michael Duffy 0/0 30.35.
4. Mo Chroi/Capt Michael Kelly 0/0 33.34.
5. Loughview Lou Lou/Dermott Lennon 0/0 34.16.
6. Mr Rockefeller/Vincent Byrne 0/0 35.21.
18 in Jump off.