Lynch cements place in final with All Star
Denis Lynch cemented his place at next month's World Cup final in Gothenburg, Sweden, when finishing fifth with All Star in Saturday's night's final qualifying leg in Bordeaux.
The 39-year-old Irishman has been in the form of his life in recent months with the big 13-year-old Hannoverian horse, owned by his great patron, Switzerland's Thomas Straumann. All Star has always had an enormous jump, but clear rounds were never guaranteed.
However, he has suddenly found the key to leaving all the fences in place and the Tipperary-born rider soared up the World Cup leader board following runner-up placings at Leipzig (GER) and Zurich (SUI) last month.
He arrived at the 11th and last leg in Bordeaux lying in a strong position with 34 points, and put qualification beyond doubt when taking fifth at the end of the super-tough 17-horse jump-off, dominated by home runners Kevin Staut and Simon Delestre.
Young Irish star, 20-year-old Bertram Allen, who finished third at the 2015 World Cup final in Las Vegas, has failed to qualify this time around despite competing at six of the 11 qualifying legs.
A mistake at the first element of the treble put paid to his chances with his top horse, Molly Malone, on Saturday, and his luck was out again yesterday with another first-round error in the Bordeaux Grand Prix riding Romanov.
Irish riders continue to hit the headlines at the Winter Equestrian Festival in West Palm Beach, Florida, with Shane Sweetnam steering Buckle up into pole position in Saturday's Suncast Championship, in which Cian O'Connor was second with Callisto and David Blake clinched fourth with Binkie.