Twomey on course for World Cup final

CONSIDERING Billy Twomey’s wealth of talent, it is a surprise to find he has never contested a World Cup final.

Throw in the perception, rightly or wrongly, that he is a veteran of the sport and you have further cause for puzzlement.

The 33-year-old has a simple explanation: Lack of suitable horse power.

“I won a World Cup qualifier in Vigo, Spain, once, but I probably did not have a horse ideally suited to indoor jumping and the demands of a World Cup final,” he said yesterday.

This season, though, he contends that his twin strike-force of Tinka’s Serenade and Je t’Aime Flamenco are strong enough for an assault on World Cup glory when the final takes place in Leipzig, Germany, next April/May.

And it’s a case of so far, so good, as the former carried Twomey to fifth place in Verona, Italy, a fortnight ago, making him the second highest-placed Irish rider on the Western European League, in 23rd place, after Dermott Lennon in 18th. This weekend, Twomey has both mounts – the 12-year-old chestnut mare Tinka and the stallion Je t’Aime – in Stuttgart, Germany, for the fifth World Cup contest of the season and is confident of improving his standing.

“I feel both horses can do the job. Tinka had a good World Championships and, in the meantime, Je t’Aime had a month off and is back jumping again. Historically, he’s been a good indoor horse, so I would like to think he will step up to the mark. He felt good in the opening class here, but I have made no decision on who will go in Sunday’s World Cup class. I am lucky to have two horses capable of doing it and I will have to see who is going the best.”

Denis Lynch and Jessica Kürten are also in Stuttgart and Twomey is aiming to emulate them by breaking into the Rolex World Rankings top 10. Currently 14th, he said: “Being in the top 10 opens a lot of doors; it means you can go where you want and when you want. In the next few weeks I will be in Brussels and Paris, so, hopefully, I can capitalise on these and get a few more world ranking points.”

* Showjumpingireland and Irishsport.tv yesterday announced that all show jumping footage previously recorded by Irishsport.tv is now available free to view.

Footage from the 2009 and 2010 seasons could previously only been viewed by those who subscribed to the site.

Content includes the Premier Series, National Grand Prix League, Pony Premier Leagues, RDS Qualifiers and Chippison/Guidam Spring Tour shows. All footage can also be purchased on DVD through SJI.

* The Munster Region Greyhound Night fundraiser takes places next Friday at Cork Greyhound Track.

Principal organiser Jerry Sweetnam said it was an opportunity for SJI members to raise badly-needed funding for the sport in a time when sponsorship was diminishing.

“Last year, the event raised €15,000, which was matched euro for euro by the ShowjumpingIreland Development Fund. That money helped to fund the Pony Premier League, the Munster Grand Prix League, the Greyhound Night Novice League and an Amateur League, while some funds also went to the Novice Pony League. This year, we hope members will put in a final effort to sell tickets and get race-card sponsorship,” said Sweetnam, who can be contacted at: 086/2574746

* Horse Sport Ireland chairman Joe Walsh met the North’s Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew at Stormont on Wednesday to “discuss the sport horse sector”.

A press release from Ms Gildernew’s department, said the Sinn Féin minister was updated by Mr Walsh “on the progress of their organisation since they became the governing body for the sector on the island in 2008”.

She said: “It is clear that we need one body in the North to bring this fragmented sector together.”

The meeting was sought by HSI. At present, the North has an umbrella body in the Equine Council for Northern Ireland. Greater communication between the council and HSI is envisaged.

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