After a low-key weekend in Europe, FEI World Cup action resumes this week, with Bordeaux in France staging what is the second-last qualifying round for riders competing in Europe.
Denis Lynch, Mark McAuley, and Michael G. Duffy are the Irish competitors lined-up for the fixture. Lynch doesn’t need any more qualifying points as he has already done enough to make the final in Las Vegas in April, but the Tipperary rider will be targeting his eyes on the prize money. McAuley has a chance of making the final too but will need a big result to climb into the qualifying places.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Darragh Kenny looks to have given himself the option of a shot at the final after winning Sunday’s American round at Deeridge Farms in Wellington, Florida on Classic Dream.
Though it was a contest in the US Eastern division, the Irish rider will get the winner’s 20 points allocated to his European tally which now stands at 45 — probably enough to qualify but, with two more rounds left, it remains to be seen.
Whatever about the World Cup, the win should ensure Kenny retains his position within the top 10 in the world rankings, the latest figures for which are due to be released this week. The Offaly native has been at number eight for the past two months, and seems likely to retain that position.
The dressage rankings have already been released and show Judy Reynolds moving up two places to number 12 with Vancouver K.
Kenny’s latest winner Classic Dream is a horse he co-owns with Ann Thompson, owner of most of his top rides. “We always felt he was a top grand prix horse and he could go to the highest level,” Kenny said.
I think he’s only starting to show that now. I think in the future he’ll be one of the best horses in the world.
Kenny and a host of Irish riders will continue competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida which moves into Week 5 of its three-month run. There was no Irish joy in Saturday’s Grand Prix, but Bertram Allen made an immediate impact on his arrival from Europe, picking up two classes earlier in the week. This week’s highlight is Saturday’s Fidelity Investments Grand Prix with $401,000 (€362,200) in prize money.
The Longines Masters of Hong Kong, due to be staged next week, has been cancelled “without hesitation” by organisers EEM due to fears surrounding the Coronavirus. The event is one of four in the Longines Masters series. Last year the prestigious contest saw an Irish victory for Denis Lynch on Chablis.