Friday 19 January 2018

Reynolds books ticket for Olympics

Judy Reynolds of Ireland Photo: Getty
Judy Reynolds of Ireland Photo: Getty

Louise Parkes

With her second sensational result in two days, Judy Reynolds booked a place for Ireland at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games when producing another Irish-record score at the CDI five star fixture in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday.

Riding her parents' 14-year-old gelding, Vancouver K, the 34-year-old from Kilteel in Kildare posted a new Irish Grand Prix record on Friday, and on Saturday scored a whopping 79.70 to fill runner-up spot in the freestyle.

This was more than two percentage points higher than the previous Irish freestyle record Reynolds established at the World Cup qualifier in Lyon last October.

Sweden's Patrik Kittel won the class with Deja on a mark of 82.550.

The strength of Reynolds' performance was reinforced when she pinned potential German Olympic team member Jessica von Bredow-Werndl into third place.

The extra Olympic qualifying points earned from these two results boosted the German-based Irishwoman to second spot on the list of riders who have fought long and hard for just six places available to riders in the open rankings.

Some unlikely high scores for other contenders over the past few weeks piled pressure on those who thought they had already made the cut, including Reynolds, who was initially disconsolate but who then turned disappointment and anger into the two best competitive performances of her career.

"It's mega!" she said on Saturday, "the best weekend ever!"

She won't be letting it go to her head, however, as she flew back from the heat of Doha to chilly Ireland yesterday to train students at Marlton Stud in Wicklow today.

The Olympic rankings become official when they have been ratified by the sport's governing body, the FEI.

On Friday night, the Irish showjumping team of Cian O'Connor, Conor Swail, Shane Sweetnam and Richie Moloney won the Nations Cup at Wellington in Florida, pinning a crack US side into runner-up spot when finishing with just four faults.

Nations Cup specialist, O'Connor, produced an impressive double-clear with his new ride, Sam du Challois.

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