Reynolds on Dressage glory trail
Ireland will be represented at the FEI World Cup dressage finals for the first time when Judy Reynolds steps into the arena for the Reem Acra Grand Prix in Gothenburg today.
The 34-year-old Kildare native has rocketed up the world rankings over the past year and, now in 47th place with her 14-year-old gelding Vancouver K, she will take on 17 others in the battle for the World Cup title.
Reynolds, who recently set Irish Grand Prix and Freestyle records while also qualifying for this summer's Rio Olympic Games, said that her target on her World Cup final debut is "a top-10 placing and more world ranking points".
That would improve her starting spot in Rio, so a good result today, and in Sunday's deciding Freestyle, would boost her prospects.
Denis Lynch (All Star) is the sole Irish representative in the Longines World Cup jumping final which also kicks off this evening with the testing speed competition.
A total of 36 riders from 17 countries will battle it out for this coveted trophy that was first won by Austria's Hugo Simon in 1979 when Irish legend, Eddie Macken, steered Carroll's of Dundalk into equal-third spot.
Trevor Coyle was the next Irishman to make it on to the podium when runner-up with Cruising 20 years later. Jessica Kuerten was also just pipped at the post with Maike in 2006, while Ireland's latest showjumping star, 20-year-old Bertram Allen, finished third with Molly Malone at the Final in Las Vegas last April.
The showjumpers have three rounds of competition, with results converted to points after tomorrow's jump-off class and the top 30 qualifying for Monday's Grand Prix.