An extract from Monday’s Irish Examiner about Uskerty Diamond Lady’s (by Carrick Diamond Lad) winning performance in The Irish Field sponsored 1.35m International Speed Derby at Millstreet Horse Show on Saturday 15th August 2015.
“Francis Connors pulled off one of the greatest smash-and-grabs atMillstreet on Saturday, and he had his trademark smile afterwards as testament to his crime.
The Waterford rider was second last to go in the Speed Derby and chasing what looked like an impossible task as, while even those with the barest knowledge know better than to discount him, it was difficult to see how Vinny Byrne could be denied a second win at the show.
Even Connors himself thought it was too much of an ask, after Byrne had grabbed the lead when 16th in on Mr Rockfeller. Over a long twisty course that encouraged speed, but penalised anything that was not 100% accurate, Byrne put in a performance that saw none of the 34 that followed him coming close to his superb time of 98.75 seconds.
The 35th rider, however, was to prove Byrne’s nemesis. Connors is recognised as one of the country’s most stylish riders and anyone that saw his round with Uskerty Diamond Lady would appreciate that, the pair set of with a flowing rhythm that ultimately saw them urged on to the last fence by a crowd full of an anticipation and appreciation, crossing the line almost a second faster than Byrne.
Connors was delighted.
“She doesn’t waste time in the air and she’s so good on her turns. She’s deceptively fast. I knew Vinny was quick and had left out a few strides here and there, but I knew I couldn’t do that. I just tried to get on an even stride and she just flowed,” said Connors.
Byrne was stoic in defeat.
“You always know there’s the chance someone could pip you. I was 16th to go, so I didn’t see too many others and there were very few clears at that time. I just went in and had as good a round as I could,” said Byrne.”