After a two-week break, the FEI World Cup series resumes this weekend with both dressage and show jumping rounds taking place in Stuttgart in Germany.
Judy Reynolds will have her first tilt at this season’s dressage series with her long-time partner Vancouver K.
The pairing finished fourth in the 2016/17 season when the final took place in Omaha, USA, but missed all of last year’s series while the horse was recovering from injury.
This will be their first outing since the World Equestrian Games in September when they finished 15th in the Grand Prix Special. It secured qualification for the concluding freestyle but the event was cancelled due to the weather.
The show jumping round at the German venue sees three Irish riders in action. Denis Lynch brings RMF Echo, The Sinner, and Caruso, while Billy Twomey competes with Ardcolum Duke, Lady Lou, and his Nations Cup Final mount and Falsterbo GP winner, Kimba Flamenco.
Michael Duffy brings Casis, Flawless, and Rumbolds Starlight to the fixture. The young Galway rider had a fruitful weekend in Qatar where he helped the Miami Celtics team to a second-place finish in what was the final round of this year’s Global Champions League.
It secured third spot for the Miami outfit in the final season standings, netting a payout of €800,000 for the team. Four of the five squad members are Irish, with Denis Lynch, Cameron Hanley, and Shane Breen playing their part along with Duffy and US rider Jessica Springsteen.
Duffy and Springsteen who represented the team in Qatar where the American produced two clears on RMF Swinny du Park while Duffy had just a time fault in his two rounds, one on Egalini and the other on Quintano.
“A rollercoaster ride,” is how the young Irish rider described his first season on the Global Champions circuit.
“The atmosphere and tradition that the Longines Global Champions Tour holds is phenomenal,” he said.
His very first taste of it could not have gone better when he and Denis Lynch represented Miami in the opening round in Mexico City last March and won, Duffy then riding EFS Top Contender and Lynch partnering RMF Cadeau de Muze.
Results dipped for a while but they came back strongly and worked their way back up the 19-team table, winning the penultimate round in Rome before last weekend’s conclusion.
London Knights, who don’t have any Irish riders, won the series, while Valkenswaard United, whose squad includes Bertram Allen, claimed second. Shane Sweetnam played no small part in Shanghai Swans good season with the team taking fifth.
The top 16 teams go forward to play-offs in Prague in December and all the individual series Grand Prix winners contesting the Super Grand Prix.