Twomey best of Irish in Helsinki
Billy Twomey finished seventh in the second leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup season in Helsinki, Finland, yesterday, writes Louise Parkes.
Riding Romanov II, he was one of only nine of the 37 starters through to the jump-off, and after an early mistake this time out, took his foot off the gas to cross the line in 40.07 seconds. Switzerland's Pius Schwizer and Carlina recorded back-to-back wins -- his fast clear round proving unbeatable and bringing his points tally to 40, which all but guarantees him a place at the series final in Holland next April.
Corkman Twomey earned a valuable 10 points and €4,000 while Schwizer collected the winner's purse of €35,000. Ireland's Denis Lynch and Lord Luis narrowly missed out on a place in the jump-off with a single fence on the floor in round one, during which Cian O'Connor and Carpe Diem retired.
Lynch remains the highest-placed Irish rider on the World Cup leaderboard in 10th place, carrying 12 points and closely followed by Twomey in 12th place on 10 points ahead of the third leg in Lyon, France, next weekend.
In eventing, Captain Geoff Curran and The Jump Jet finished fourth of 87 starters at the CIC 3-Star in Cameri, Italy. Lying ninth after dressage on Friday, the Waterford rider produced one of two clear rounds in Saturday's cross-country phase.
Meanwhile, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Richie Moloney and the Irish-bred Slievanorra finished sixth in the $75,000 World Cup Qualifier with a single fence down in the first round.
A weekend that was supposed to contain four meetings was somewhat decimated with only one meeting fully completed, writes RICHARD PUGH.
Loughbrickland was the first to fall to the weather as they cancelled last week and Lingstown on Saturday were unable to produce suitable ground in the absence of any rain in the south-east, so they also cancelled.
Dromahane managed to run the first six races but with two races remaining were forced to abandon owing to the weather, leaving the Golden Vales the only ones which managed to complete a meeting.
Mark O'Hare scored a double on the card, with Send For Paddy impressing in the Open to beat Nedzers Return. Send For Paddy made the journey from Northern Ireland worthwhile for Robert Armstrong. He will be aimed at the Cheltenham Foxhunters according to connections.
Claire O'Connell provided O'Hare with the second leg of his double when Easy Vic won the concluding maiden run in torrential rain. He looked to have overcome Simon Says when the latter ran out at the last leaving O'Hare clear.
Andrew Flaherty also scored a double when riding Finish The Story and Up The Girls for his uncle Kevin Heffernan. Michael Hourigan saddled a son of Zagreb in the 4YO maiden, River Maigue, which looks to have a big future.
Ireland's Craig Breen yesterday finished fourth in the Super 2,000 section of Rally de Espana, the penultimate round of the World Rally Championship, writes PAUL PHELAN.
The Waterford driver's Ford Fiesta held third place at the end of the opening day but a broken driveshaft on one of Saturday's stages cost him time and dropped him behind former junior world champion Martin Prokop of the Czech Republic.
Prokop managed to stay ahead of the Irishman for the rest of the rally, claiming third position among the Super 2,000 cars. Breen finished in 15th place overall behind seven-time world champ Sebastien Loeb.
The Dublin-Oxford pairing of Frank Lenehan and Anthony Preston claimed top place in the Circuit of Ireland Retrospective Trial for the second time in three years in Lisburn.