Equestrian: Lynch aiming o close in on World Cup spot in Verona
DENIS Lynch will be joined by Niall Talbot at the fourth leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup series in Verona on Sunday.
Lynch has accumulated 23 points over the first three legs and is well on his way to qualifying for the final in 's-Hertogenbosch, Holland in April.
Something over 40 points is usually sufficient to make the cut from the hotly contested Western European League and Germany-based Tipperary man Lynch has been showing good form to date.
Talbot brings the talented Nicos de la Cense, which jumped superbly in the non-Championships classes during the Europeans at Madrid in September.
From Kill in Kildare but based in Switzerland, he has been quietly supporting the Irish senior team ever since opening his own training and sales yard 15 years ago.
However, with Nicos de la Cense he looks likely to break into the big-time.
Meanwhile, the Alltech National Horse Show kicks off at the Horse Park in Kentucky today, with Irish riders Shane Sweetnam and Richie Moloney vying for a piece of the action and aiming at a good result in Saturday night's $250,000 World Cup qualifier.
The National is the oldest indoor horse show in the world, dating back to 1884 when it was first staged in New York's Madison Square Gardens.
Alongside the London International Horse Show at Olympia, it blazed the way for international show jumping during the early 20th century and the Irish were regular visitors, with the Army team travelling for weeks by boat to support the event and promote the newly created Republic during its early years.
The two events were driven by a pair of super-wealthy, flamboyant characters -- America's Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt and Lord Lonsdale 'The Sporting Earl' who gave his name to boxing's prestigious Lonsdale Belt.
Having had to abandon New York some years ago, The National has been struggling to find another suitable location ever since but seems at last to have found the perfect new home in Kentucky.
This year's fixture runs under the banner of the animal nutrition company Alltech, owned by Dundalk-born Dr Pearse Lyons.
At home, league leader Peter Smyth won the latest leg of the Gain/Alltech Grand Prix series at Killossery Lodge Stud in Swords on Monday.
The Tyrone rider steered Victoria Rose home quickest in the eight-horse jump-off, pipping his nearest rival Gabriel Slattery, riding Captains Magic Touch, by just under two seconds, while Cavan man Mervyn Clarke slotted into third with Moneytrain.
details in factfile