World Cup event on knife edge

THE staging of the Tattersalls World Cup event remained on a knife edge last night as efforts continued to find the necessary finance.

The May event is under threat as a result of the difficulty in finding a sponsor and despite sizeable funding from Horse Sport Ireland.

The Federation Equestre Internationale had extended its deadline until today for Tattersalls to source funding and not follow Ballygraffan International Horse Trials in becoming a victim of the current economic woes besetting the country.

Last month, the board of Tattersalls decided that due to the “economic downturn in the Irish bloodstock industry” it could no longer underwrite the shortfall in funding.

However, last night Tattersalls Ireland managing director George Mernagh was not ready to say the event was cancelled.

“It will go down to the wire, but we are hoping to be in a position to make an announcement today. As of now, it is still possible the event will go ahead. We still have one iron in the fire, but we need to get some things sorted and must contact the FEI,” said Mernagh following a meeting with sponsors.

The economic downturn also saw Dressage Ireland announce this week that Ireland’s first senior international dressage show would not go ahead as expected at Cavan Equestrian Centre.

Dressage Ireland said that with the “global credit crunch and a deepening domestic recession in Ireland it proved impossible to secure the necessary sponsorship required to run the CDI three-star”, which was scheduled for April 30-May 3.

It confirmed, however, that the annual dressage festival would go ahead at the venue on May 1-3 and, as usual, pony, junior and young rider teams are expected from England, Scotland and Wales.

For the first time, the top riders in each class from novice level will qualify to compete in the Dressage Masters at Hickstead in August.

lDENIS LYNCH brings Lantinus back to the international arena in Leipzig this weekend for the first time since the Olympics and the ensuing controversy that surrounded the gelding’s positive drug test.

The Tipperary rider concedes he will be the subject of some attention.

However, feels he has nothing to prove and was yesterday non-committal as to whether he will saddle up the gelding for Sunday’s World Cup qualifier, opting instead for a gradual re-introduction.

“I jumped him Wednesday and he was attacking his jumps as is his instinct. He’s in great form. But I plan to ease him back into competition and I’ll see how he feels before making any decisions. A lot of people were asking why he was not back sooner, but there’s a long season ahead.

“It’s a case of one step at a time and I plan to take him to Amsterdam next week and the World cup show in Bordeaux the following week.”

Lynch said he was determined to win a place in the World Cup finals in Las Vegas in April and he was upbeat about Nabab’s Son’s ability to help him enhance his chances this weekend. Good performances with the 10-year-old gelding in December saw him bank 12 World Cup points at Mechelen, making him the only Irish rider to register on the Western European League. This result was preceded by a third in the Olympia grand prix.

“I would love to go to Vegas and Nabab proved in Mechelen and Olympia that he is capable of tackling big tracks,” said the German-based rider.

Lynch is also confident he has found a good one in the 18hh nine-year-old Belgian-bred Abbervail, who is also at Leipzig.

“He looks serious, a big jumper. Again, though, I’m in no rush. Just let him tip away in the background. He was good last week in the national show at Münster and was eighth in the grand prix there and fifth in the small grand prix.”

Lynch is one of a trio of riders flying the Irish flag at the German fixture this weekend, with Jessica Kürten and Cian O’Connor also present.

It is Kürten’s first international action of 2009 and she has opted to bring out the sublime Castle Forbes Libertina, a possible sign that she is serious about qualifying for Vegas.

World Cup success has also eluded O’Connor this season despite having a couple of opportunities, though with the big-jumping Rancorrado and Complete, which gave him second place in Geneva's grand prix in November, he cannot be ruled out.

O'Connor’s stated aim is to make it into the top 30 in the Rolex World Rankings and he will view Leipzig as another chance to achieve his goal and improve on his current 40th place.

AN exhibition and open day is being organised by the Irish Draught Horse Society at the Green Glens, Millstreet, on January 31.

The versatility of the Irish Draught and its ability as a riding horse will be showcased on the day.

There will be information stands, trade stalls, dressage, show jumping, carriage driving and Trec. Seminar topics will include shoeing, a veterinary view on mare fertility, horse nutrition, show presentation, equine massage, along with yard and horse security.

It starts at 12.30pm and admission is free.

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