| 5.4°C Dublin

Equestrian: Clarke's title dreams dashed

The hope of a dream result for Ireland's Aoife Clarke was dashed yesterday by a single mistake on the formidable cross-country course at the Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials in Gloucestershire.

On Saturday, the Kildare-born eventer recorded the best-ever Irish dressage score at the notoriously tough fixture when slotting into eighth with Master Crusoe. But a mistake at the second element of the downhill fence six yesterday added 20 expensive penalties and put paid to her chances. However, with her first ride Vaguely North she was one of just six to return without time penalties, moving up from 59th spot to 20th.

Meath rider Elizabeth Power was air-lifted to hospital following a heavy fall with Kilpatrick River at the sunken road while Sarah Wardell was eliminated for a fall in the lake with Killeenduff Boy.

Joseph Murphy (Electric Cruise) is lying 35th, Michael Ryan (Old Road) 49th, Louise Lyons (Murphy's Miracle) 54th and Mark Kyle (Step In Time) 56th going into today's deciding show jumping phase. Kiwi legend Mark Todd holds a fractional lead over Germany's Marina Kohncke in second while Britain's Nicola Wilson lies third.

At home yesterday, Cian O'Connor and Larkhill Cruiser won the opening leg of the TRM Premier Grand Prix series in Dundalk, pipping Capt David O'Brien and Mo Chroi by more than a half-second, while Alexander Butler finished third with Will Wimble.

O'Connor's horse has enjoyed a month's break following a sensational early-season winning streak and will now be aimed at the Derby in La Baule, France in three weeks' time. The Meath rider also won Saturday's qualifier at the Louth fixture riding Trebox Acorada.

Irish Independent