Monday 23 October 2017

Equestrian: Unlucky Kuerten foiled by last-fence blunder for second time

Louise Parkes

Jessica Kuerten finished fourth in Saturday night's Grand Prix in Helsinki, Finland but for the second week running a final-fence error denied her a place in the jump-off in yesterday's World Cup qualifier.

Riding API Largo, Kuerten scooped €6,000 when producing one of just five double-clear rounds in Saturday's competition, which was won by Germany's Christian Ahlmann, who also came out to record a back-to-back double of World Cup wins when topping yesterday's main event.

But Kuerten didn't make the cut into yesterday's 11-horse second- round jump-off when, in a remarkable reflection of her misfortune in Oslo a week earlier, the mare Castle Forbes Cosma lowered the very last obstacle on the first-round track.

At the 3-Star fixture at Odense in Denmark, however, former army man Shane Carey had better luck when winning the Grand Prix with Lancero, while Cian O'Connor was in the ribbons at the 4-Star in Caen, France.

O'Connor was third with Splendor in Friday's Grand Prix Qualifier and then steered Arabella into sixth in Saturday's Two-Phase Competition but a first-round error kept him out of the 10-horse jump-off in yesterday's Grand Prix.

Meanwhile, Irish horse breeding got a major boost yesterday when Irish-breds topped the Studbook rankings at the World Breeding Championships for Young Event Horses at Le Lion d'Angers in France.

There were five Irish-breds amongst the top eight in the seven-year-old category, two ridden by William Fox-Pitt and two more by his British compatriots Pippa Funnell and Louisa Lockwood, while the fifth was competed by New Zealand's Sam Griffiths. In the six-year-old competition, Britain's Nicola Wilson steered the Irish-bred Annie Clover into second place.

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