Equestrian: Kuerten hoping to rekindle Leipzig form with Libertina
Jessica Kuerten returns to the scene of the first of her double success in last season's Rolex FEI World Cup series when she competes in Leipzig this weekend with Cian O'Connor and Denis Lynch, writes Louise Parkes.
Kuerten and Castle Forbes Libertina took the honours at the German fixture last January before storming to victory again in Zurich a week later. And, with Libertina back in action and looking good after a long injury break, the 40-year-old rider will be fancied to earn some World Cup qualifying points on Sunday.
O'Connor is the form rider right now and his Grand Prix victories at Olympia in December and Basel last Sunday will further improve his world ranking position. At present he is in 31st place, while Lynch is ranked 17th and Kuerten 15th.
Meanwhile, Ireland's first Nations Cup team of 2010 will line out at the new five-star fixture in Abu Dhabi in a fortnight.
Team manager Robert Splaine has already named O'Connor and his double winner, Rancorrado, in the side. Cameron Hanley (Southwind VDL) and Dermott Lennon (Hallmark Elite) have also been included, along with Billy Twomey, who has a choice between Je T'Aime Flamenco, Tinka's Serenade and Blue Thunder.
The show, which takes place at the Ghantoot Polo Club from February 3 to 6, offers world ranking points in every competition, including the €300,000 Grand Prix, and Splaine sees it as a great opportunity for the riders, particularly in light of the recession, because "there may be fewer five-star shows available".
Kuerten and Lynch will line out at the World Cup show in Bordeaux over the same weekend.