Contrasting fortunes for World Cup pair

CONTRASTING fortunes defined the opening day for Ireland’s World Cup challengers, with Billy Twomey finishing 16th in the first of three finals and Denis Lynch suffering elimination.

Twomey and Tinka’s Serenade were coasting through the speed class, when they lowered the back rail of an oxer for four faults. The Corkman was magnanimous and shouldered the blame.

“Naturally, I’d like to be higher up the rankings, but I’m still in the shake-up,” he said.

“I’m disappointed with the four faults. In hindsight, it may have been an error on my part. I did six strides and maybe five would have been better. But I could dissect it all day long, it’s not going to change the result.”

Nottinghamshire-based Twomey had an easy passage to Leipzig with Sue Davies’s talented chestnut mare and, as such, has well-placed confidence that he can make amends.

He knows, though, that only clear rounds in tonight’s second round and in Sunday’s decider will see him with any prospect of becoming the first Irish rider to lift the World Cup.

“The horse has decent form and, other than the four faults today, she was jumping super, so I’m looking forward to the next round. The bigger the better. I’m still upbeat,” he said.

Lynch’s bid for success ended just minutes after it had begun, when he lost his balance while negotiating the combination and slipped from Thomas Straumann’s gelding Abbervail van het Dingeshof. The German-based Tipperary rider was reported to be unhurt.

The home crowd, however, had plenty of reason to cheer, with German riders filling the top three places. Marco Kutscher is in pole position on Cash, with title-holder Marcus Ehning, riding Sabrina, in second. Christian Ahlmann and Taloubet Z lie third, with just 0.5sec separating the trio.

Competitors filling the top two-thirds of the leaderboard following tonight’s jump-off will feature in Sunday’s finale. Just 15 will advance to the second round and the rider with the minimum number of accumulated faults at the conclusion will be declared the champion.

* ORGANISERS of this weekend’s Ballindenisk International Horse Trials in Cork are probably alone in hoping they will see some of the showers predicted for the south today.

Regardless, though, Peter Fell is guaranteeing the going will be perfect, as preparations were finalised yesterday.

“It has been particularly dry of late and rain would make life a bit easier. Of course, we intend to water the course and have a plans in place but, other than that, we are looking very good.

“We asked Michael and Patricia Ryan to come up to get their opinions as riders and they were very happy with what they saw,” said Peter.

The record number of entries has also proved satisfying.

“It is the biggest entry for a CIC three-star we have ever had and we are thrilled. It is as strong an Irish turnout as we could have hoped for; only those that were at Badminton last week are missing,” he said.

“We have done a fair bit of work on the course, with 10 or more new fences and it will be interesting to see how it fares.

“The avenue crossing, which for many years has had a brush fence coming off it, now has a palisade exit, followed by a skinny two strides afterwards. It has already proven contentious, with a number of riders noting its difficulty. Basically, this competition carries points for Olympic qualification and riders do not get any points if they have a refusal, so you can understand their concern, but we are confident it will ride well,” he said.

A high-class field should make for hot competition and Jayne Doherty — who saddles up The Only One and Ravenstar — is tipped to do well, having won the three-star and two-star at the Cork venue last year. The aforementioned Ryans are more than capable of being in the shake-up, with Michael riding Ballylynch Skyport, Annestown Emperor and Ballylynch Sky High, while Patricia competes Ballylynch Wizard.

Capt Geoff Curran has re-routed to Ballindenisk having been forced to pull out of last weekend’s Badminton and could be in with a shout on The Jump Jet.

Belgian Joris Vanspringel travels over from Badminton with Limestone and it can be assumed he would not have done so if he did not feel he could make an impression. Ditto for New Zealander Tim Price and Sporting Hero.

Dressage and show jumping take place tomorrow, with the cross-country on Sunday.

* BROTHERS Shane and Trevor Breen feature in the Irish team for today’s nations cup in Lummen, Belgium.

The former will act as pathfinder on Camblin, followed by US-born Jennifer Crooks on SF Uryadi. Trevor rides Adventure de Kannan, with Shane Carey and Lancero filling the anchor slot.

Limerick rider Carey claimed third place in yesterday’s feature class with the nine-year-old bay gelding Temple Road.

lHUNTER trials take place again this Sunday at Templemartin, Co Cork.

The organisers promise a course to suit all abilities, with prizes in each of the eight classes. The starting time is 11am. Enquiries: 087-2541559.

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