Thomas Barr set a new national 400 metres hurdles record at the Rome Diamond league last night and moved himself to the top of the European leaderboard, WRITES DAVE HOOPER.
Fast-finishing Barr lowered his own Irish record by 0.24 seconds to 48.65, the same time as Puerto Rico's Javier Culson and just half a second behind race winner America's Johnny Dutch.
"I didn't run the perfect race, but a new national record and beating the European and World champion is not too bad a feeling," joked Barr having beat World champion Jehue Gordon and Switzerland European champion Kariem Hussein.
"I think I still have some work to do, I felt a bit sluggish beforehand, I put that to the back of my mind," added Barr, who was voted European athlete of the month in April.
"My new stride pattern is nearly there, it still needs some work," revealed Barr. "I have two weeks training before the European team championships in Crete and I think I can improve all round."
Yesterday's Speed win for Greg Broderick and MHS Automatic put the Irish in a positive mood ahead of today's crucial qualifying leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup series in St Gallen, Switzerland.
Partnering his other top ride, MHS Going Global, the Tipperary man joins Bertram Allen (Romanov), Cian O'Connor (Good Luck) and Shane Breen (Golden Hawk) in the battle for points, and Robert Splaine's side has the advantage of being last to go of the eight top nations.
The sensational 19-year-old, Allen who finished third at the World Cup Final in Las Vegas in April, was yesterday confirmed in the No 5 slot on the latest Longines World Rankings.
At home tonight, Limerick Greyhound Stadium hosts the first leg of the new Jumping in the City series, designed to attract a whole new audience to the sport of showjumping and 2002 world champion, Dermott Lennon, is hotly tipped to scoop the spoils.
Lewis Hamilton insisted last night that he had no regrets over his role in the blunder which cost him the Monaco Grand Prix and that he had full trust in Mercedes' strategic calls. Hamilton was repeatedly asked about the Monte Carlo debacle but did his best to kick the subject into touch.
The reigning champion said: "I don't look back. I am looking forward. Honestly, I haven't thought about the last race for a long time.
"I have been thinking about the next race," he added. "I am happy with how I drove. Confidence is the same as always: 100 pc. I have confidence in the team. We have had incredible success together and one race doesn't dent the strong foundations"