Friday 19 January 2018

Twomey's hopes hit as Army horses ruled out of Olympic bid


Louise Parkes

Robert Splaine's request to use Army horses in Ireland's bid to clinch a qualifying spot for next year's Olympic Games has been rejected.

The Irish show jumping team manager wanted the horses to boost Billy Twomey's chances, but, in a long-awaited reply, a spokesperson for the Department of Defence yesterday said that the Army had "no suitable horses available".

While the news will come as a disappointment to Twomey, who is competing at the Global Champions Tour Final in Abu Dhabi this weekend, he will hardly be surprised.

"The Army Equitation School has done an excellent job with their horses and I have the greatest respect for them and, in particular, Captain David O'Brien, both as a rider and a friend," he said.

"It is testament to his training and management that he found himself being asked the extremely difficult question of whether or not someone else should ride his horses. No rider, including myself, would be happy to see his horses move to another yard, albeit short-term."

Ireland failed to qualify a team for London 2012, but have a strong chance of taking two of the three individual places still up for grabs.

"Denis Lynch is lying first on this list at the moment and I am third, but the person in fourth is very close to overtaking me," Twomey explained.

Irish Independent

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