Wednesday 28 June 2017

Equestrian: Lynch recovers well to finish runner-up in star-studded field

Louise Parkes

Denis Lynch finished second in the prestigious Rolex IJRC Top-Ten Final in Geneva over the weekend, when Cian O'Connor racked up two wins and other top placings.

The Top-Ten attracted a star-studded field, but Lynch's chances of the big money seemed to be scuppered by a single mistake in the first round with Lantinus.

However, only one of the four riders who jumped clear first time out managed to do it again at their second attempt, and when Lynch was foot-perfect in round two, then he soared up the leaderboard to clinch runner-up spot and €40,000 -- while the host nation's Steve Guerdat took the €50,000 winners purse with the only double-clear.

O'Connor galloped to victory in Saturday's Indoor Derby with his new ride, Declan McEvoy's Umberto, which is proving a real find. From a field of 25 starters, the 31-year-old Meath rider produced the only penalty-free performance and left Frenchman Philippe Rozier in his wake.

"Umberto has a very good technique, he's super-careful and has a great brain. I'm pleased with him because he hasn't much experience and in the last few weeks he has improved," said O'Connor afterwards. He then came out later in the day to join the star-studded side that won the Credit Suisse Team challenge. This time he was partnering the newest addition to his string, the nine-year-old Larkhill Cruiser, which he recently bought from Navan's John Floody.

Four teams, with seven riders on each, competed in this class, which began with standard jumping rounds from the first four riders, before the final three went against the clock. O'Connor joined Luciana Dinia and Frenchman Rozier in the timed section to claim the trophy for the Europe 2 team -- while the Swiss finished second, the Rest of the World third, and the Europe 1 team, which included Denis Lynch and Jessica Kuerten, finished last.

O'Connor then finished best of the Irish when 11th with Splendor in yesterday's Rolex FEI World Cup qualifier. A single error denied himself and Denis Lynch (Lantinus) a place in the eight-horse jump-off, in which Kevin Staut showed why he is No 1 in the World Rankings and in the European qualifying series that leads to the World Cup final in Leipzig next March.

Irish Independent

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