Opening win for Alexander Butler in the GAIN/Alltech Autumn Grand Prix
The GAIN/Alltech Autumn Grand Prix proved to be a perfect end to the Cavan Equestrian Indoor Championships. Celebrating its 23rd year, the show saw spectators line the arena on Sunday evening to watch the 65 combinations battle it out in the opening round of the popular Autumn Grand Prix.
Taking the honours in the Cavan Equestrian €4,500 sponsored event was Alexander Butler riding Vimminka who also claimed the Hazel O’Callaghan perpetual trophy. This was the second win for the Meath rider having led the victory lap in the six and seven-year-old Hankook Cavan Classic final on Saturday, aboard James Egan’s seven-year-old Zapatero VDL sired gelding Eldorado.
Owned by Ladycastle Syndicate, Vimminka is a 14- year-old mare by Nabab De Reve and out of Naminka. The mare has been a loyal servant to Butler with wins at national and international level. Amongst their recent results was a win in the two phase in Balmoral CSI2* in May and third in the Table A in Vilamoura CSI3* in March. On the national circuit the pairing took fifth in the Underwriting Exchange Ltd., Jumping In The City Grand Prix in August and prior to this a win in the Premier Series in Omagh.
On duty, German course designer Claus Holle designed a technical course for riders and with 25% coming back for the second round, a total of 17 battled it out for the spoils. In the second round, Holle opted for a series of tight turns throughout the course and those looking to take the win needed to keep it tight from the off.
No stranger to this type of pressure, Alexander Butler skilfully took a very tight turn back to the double with Vimminka. This good start set him up as he negotiated another tight turn back to the penultimate vertical before galloping home in 34.71 to clinch victory.
Reigning Autumn Grand Prix Champion John Floody knew what he needed to do to oust Butler from the top spot. Setting off in a determined pace with the big striding Ballynock Diamond, he followed a similar path to the leader. However, despite a gallant attempt a slower time of 38.61 saw him fill the runner-up place on this occasion.
Junior rider, Matt Garrigan had his foot firmly to the floor as he took to the course with Contino 56. However, despite a series of good turns and a strong gallop to the last their time of 41.14 proved only good enough for third place.
Kildare rider, Edward Doyle kept everything intact with Derryinver Luxury Cruise, but a slower time of in 41.64 which saw him slot into fourth. Eddie Moloney’s decision to take for the safer route back to the double with Tonagh Trip The Lights, paid off as he lodged a clear in 41.74 for fifth place. Kevin Gallagher and Alvarez completed the top six line up when they recorded a clear in 44.33 seconds.
GAIN/Alltech Autumn Grand Prix result from Cavan Equestrian Centre
Sponsored by Cavan Equestrian Centre
1st Vimminka/A.Butler 0/0 34.71
2nd Ballynock Diamond/J.Floody 0/0 38.61
3rd Contino 56/M.Garrigan 0/0 41.14
4th Derryinver Luxury Cruise/E.Doyle 0/0 41.64
5th Tonagh Trip The Lights/E.Moloney 0/0 41.74
6th Alvarez/K.Gallagher 0/0/44.33