Butler claims grand prix for third time
Alexander Butler completed a great week at Balmoral by winning the grand prix for the third time in his career and being crowned leading leading rider of the show.
The grand prix is the biggest and most prestigious event at any show and the competition didn't disappoint the large crowd that turned up to watch the Barclays Communications & Bottle Green International grand prix yesterday.
Riders from five nations jumped for a prize fund of £21,500 and the famous Chester Nugent Gold Cup, the competition also important for the riders as it was a ranking class and part of the world ranking series.
Twenty-eight horse and riders lined out to tackle the big and technical track set by British course designer Steve Williams, including defending champion Butler.
A quarter of the first round entrants came back for the second round. Two of these carried the four faults from round one as they joined five clears.
But the only double clear was Butler and the Touchdown gelding, now 14-years-old.
Butler, who also won on Wednesday and Thursday, took some sharp turns on the track and came wide to the last vertical to jump clear and take the lead.
Egyptian rider Sameh El Dahan was last to go with WKD Pepperpot and they shaved a lot of corners but had the final fence down to finish third. Second place went to British rider Douglas Duffin riding Quidam who had one time fault in the jump off.
Afterwards a delighted Butler said: " I knew this morning that I would be in the top three. He loves jumping on the grass and he has been in great form for the past month.
"To win the grand prix is a bit special and I hope he continues his run of form."
Will Wimble is owned by well-known producer and breeder Harold McGahern.
The Aon International Accumulator provided Strabane rider Peter Smyth with his second win of the week as he partnered Victoria Rose to get the maximum points of 65 in a time of 44.27.
Smyth was first into the ring with the daughter of Limerick and their time proved unbeatable. Second went to Co Meath rider Edward Butler riding Caugherty, in 46.67, with third going to Dungannon rider Frank Curran on New World in 49.48.
In the opening international, Derry rider Jordan Coyle, riding Uptown Girl, won the Volvo International Ride and Drive.