Tuesday 20 March 2018

Equestrian: Kuerten teams up with de Rothschild

Louise Parkes

ALMOST a year to the day that her business partnership with Georgina Forbes was dissolved, Jessica Kuerten will be moving to Paris to take up the role of trainer to Edouard de Rothschild in January.

Kuerten's last ride under the Castle Forbes banner was a successful one when she won the World Cup qualifier in Mechelen, Belgium, last December.

A few days later it emerged that her eight-year sponsorship arrangement with Lady Forbes was at an end due to a highly-public disagreement.

Kuerten lost all of her top rides, including Castle Forbes Libertina, the mare which kept her at the top of the game and which is now in retirement at Castle Forbes in County Longford.

Since then, the show jumper from Cullybackey in County Down, who turns 42 on Friday, has plummeted from the top end of the World rankings to 75th in the current listing.

Kuerten recently commented that she expected it would take two years for her to return to the sharp-end of the sport as she continues to develop her new string, and despite her move to the De Rothschild Estate near Euro Disney after Christmas, that may still be the case.

Although she will keep and train her own horses at his equestrian facility, she will not be sponsored by the 53-year-old Frenchman, who competes in top-level show jumping under the Israeli flag and who has strong connections with the French horse racing industry.

The lawyer and banker has employed Kuerten as his personal coach, but his friend, the legendary Gilles Bertran de Balanda, who was a member of the gold medal-winning team in the World Championships at the RDS in Dublin in 1982, will continue to oversee De Rothschild's equestrian operation.

Meanwhile, Denis Lynch and Billy Twomey are en route to the Global Champions Tour Final in Abu Dhabi where there is €1m up for grabs.

Irish Independent

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