Equestrian: Twomey and Lynch carry hopes
EQUESTRIAN: Only Ireland and the host nation France will have two riders in contention as the prestigious Rolex Top-10 final takes place at the 5-Star Gucci Masters in Paris-Nord Villepinte, Paris tonight, WRITES LOUISE PARKES.
Denis Lynch and Billy Twomey are lying eighth and ninth, respectively, in the latest world rankings and the only rider from the top-10 who's missing is third-placed McLain Ward, who will be replaced by world No 11, fellow American Beezie Madden,
The Rolex Top-10 final, created in 2001 by the International Jumping Riders Club, is a highlight of the indoor jumping season.
World No 1, Canada's Eric Lamaze, heads the field, but is without the services of the horse that helped him clinch individual Olympic gold in 2008 in Beijing. His great stallion Hickstead collapsed and died during the World Cup show in Verona, Italy, last month.
Sweden's individual European champion Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, European team gold medallist Ludger Beerbaum from Germany and Switzerland's Pius Schwizer line out, along with Australia's Edwina Alexander, who clinched the Global Champions Tour title in Abu Dhabi last weekend.
Kevin Staut and Simon Delestre will fly the French flag, but Madden and her superb string of horses may be a threat to them all.
The Men versus Women challenge takes place tomorrow, with the Rolex Speed and Gucci Grand Prix on Sunday.
Trevor Coyle, Conor Swail and Mark MacAuley are competing in the 2-Star classes, while former tennis star, Switzerland's Martina Hingis, is among the 1-Star competitors.
Irish riders also compete in Salzburg, Manerbio, Hengelo and Wellington this weekend.