Lynch denied by smallest of margins
Denis Lynch was pipped by just one-hundredth of a second in the €300,000 Rolex Grand Prix won by Pedro Veniss at the CSI 5-Star show at Chateau de Versailles in France yesterday.
Riding Echo de Laubry, Lynch was chasing the target time of 35.19 seconds set by the Brazilian rider and his fabulous French stallion Quabri de L'Isle in the 12-horse jump-off. And the Irishman came agonisingly close when breaking the beam in 35.20 seconds to claim runner-up spot and €60,000 while Veniss pocketed €75,000.
Brazilian star Rodrigo Pessoa, the new Irish chef d'equipe, was also in action at the French fixture and posted a win with Status on Friday. He has chosen three Tipperary men to contest the Europe Division 1 Nations Cup at La Baule, France this week with Lynch joined by American-based Kevin Babington and Shane Breen.
Cork's Shane Sweetnam and Galway's Michael Duffy complete the squad for Friday's competition.
Meanwhile, new Irish Eventing high performance manager Sally Corscadden got a boost with three Irish finishers in the top 20 at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials yesterday.
On Friday an Irish win for the first time in 52 years seemed possible when the exciting combination of Jonty Evans and Cooley Rorkes Drift, who finished individually ninth at the Rio Olympics last summer, were lying third after dressage.
But absolute concentration was required to successfully negotiate Eric Winter's super-tough 30-fence Badminton cross-country track, and a momentary lapse at the corners at fence 21 cost Evans dearly, dropping him to 20th place. Joseph Murphy rocketed up from 75th after dressage to 18th after a great cross-country round in which he collected just 9.2 time penalties with Sportsfield Othello, and a clear showjumping round yesterday saw him finish best of the Irish in 13th spot.
Rio Olympians Clare Abbott and Euro Prince produced a spectacular cross-country run to improve from 51st place to 11th, but slipped three places with eight showjumping faults yesterday.