Equestrian: Breen and Twomey keep Irish on a high
Published 19/07/2010 | 05:00
The Irish continued their victory roll at Aachen on Saturday with wins for Shane Breen and Billy Twomey, while Cork-born Twomey then rounded off his great weekend with seventh place in yesterday's Rolex Grand Prix.
Riding Tackeray, Twomey clinched the honours in Saturday's Accumulator, ahead of German star Ludger Beerbaum in second and world No 2 Pius Schwizer of Switzerland in third.
Then Breen won the famous Hunting Competition with Dorada, which has been consistent again this season, placing second in the Derby at Lummen, Belgium, and third in the Derby at Falsterbo, Sweden.
Denis Lynch's hopes of taking the Aachen Grand Prix title for the second year running were dashed when Lantinus dropped a pole in yesterday's first round, a fate also endured by Breen (World Cruise) and Cian O'Connor (K Club Lady), while Dermott Lennon's Hallmark Elite left two on the floor.
Twomey and his 2009 St Gallen Grand Prix champion Je T'Aime Flamenco went clear, but they were denied a place in the four-horse jump-off by a mistake at the first element of the double in round two.
The €150,000 first prize went to Canada's Olympic champion and world No 1 Eric Lamaze, who last week brought his career earnings to $2,730,502 (€2.1m) at his home tournament in Spruce Meadows, Calgary.
Irish riders are on a high after their perfectly executed victory in the Aachen Nations Cup last Thursday.
They shared the lead with four other teams on a four-fault score at the halfway stage and then cruised to victory with three crisp second-round clears. Cian O'Connor's new ride, Dr Michael Smurfit's K Club Lady, was in a class of her own and Dermott Lennon's Hallmark Elite, which was also double-clear, looks set to put the 2002 world champion back on centre stage.
Lynch and Lantinus, who hit just the last fence in the first round, had a light day's work when their anchor-role services were not required in round two, while Twomey's professionalism at the head of the team bolstered the Irish position from the outset.
First into the ring, he ensured his colleagues were not fighting a rear-guard action when picking up just four faults with Tinka's Serenade and in round two was foot-perfect.
There is a sense that a quality Irish team is coming together at last, and the prospect of remaining in the premier Meydan Nations Cup series and of success at the forthcoming World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in September seems more tangible.
This was Ireland's fifth victory in the 81-year history of the Aachen Nations Cup and afterwards much-respected US chef d'equipe George Morris said: "The Irish by nature and by blood are the greatest horse people in the world. They are very well mounted right now and it's always a threat when they are well mounted."
Meanwhile, at the European Children on Horses Championship at Jardy near Paris, Ireland's Noelle Barry, Wesley Byrne, Cormac Hanley and Tim McDonagh finished in the bronze-medal position behind Italy in silver and Great Britain in gold.