TIPPERARY's Denis Lynch has added to an incredible weekend for Irish Show Jumping, by winning today’s (Sunday) $400,000 Longines Masters of Hong Kong five star Grand Prix.
Lynch partnered his stable newcomer Chablis to the fastest clear round in a 12-horse jump-off. A time of 39.35 seconds saw him land the winner's prize of $132,000, with Lynch now in the hunt for a €1 million bonus if he can repeat his victory in the next Longines Masters rounds in New York and Paris.
"I never see myself as a favourite,” said Lynch after the win. “But I didn’t feel the pressure. Pressure is for tyres. This is a new horse for our stable so I am over the moon. I’m just very, very proud of this horse.”
Frenchman Simon Delestre and Uccello de Will finished as runners-up in 47.07 – the only other pair to have two clear rounds. Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer and About A Dream (38.56) came in third. “The course designer today did an amazing job” said Lynch. “It was exciting for us and for the fans and they really get behind you here in Hong Kong. What EEM are doing here is growing every year. The crowd just go with you [over the jumps] and that’s very nice.”
TWO WINS FOR ALLEN
It was Ireland’s third win in Hong Kong this weekend after Wexford’s Bertram Allen guided Christy Jnr to victory in Saturday’s Longines Speed Challenge. It was Allen’s second time winning this competition after he also came out on top in 2016 with Quiet Easy.
His time of 60.47 seconds with Christy Jnr saw him finish well ahead of French pair Patrice Delaveau with Vestale de Mazure (62.88), and Kevin Staut with Ayade de Septon (62.94).
"I like to smile when I ride well,” said Allen. “I’m delighted and my horse ran superbly. The people here in Hong Kong really love it. They really enjoy their time and watching the horses. I love it.”
Bertram Allen also came out on top in Saturday evening’s Six Bar competition in Hong Kong with Izzy By Picobello.
Irish riders have claimed several major victories across the globe this weekend. Limerick’s Paul O’Shea came out on top in the five-star Longines Grand Prix at the Palm Beach Masters in Florida on Friday with the Tequestrian Farms-owned Imerald Van ‘t Voorhof. The win marked the first five-star Grand Prix victory of O’Shea’s career.
Horse Sport Ireland CEO Ronan Murphy said: "I want to congratulate all our riders and especially Denis Lynch and Paul O’Shea on their outstanding results for Ireland this weekend in Hong Kong and the USA. It shows what a deep pool of talented riders we are lucky to have in Ireland that the two biggest Grand Prix competitions in the world this weekend have been won by Irish athletes. I also wish Michael Blake and his Irish team the very best of luck in the first Nations Cup of the season this evening in Florida.”
WINS FOR COURNANE AND COYLE
At the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, Co Kerry’s Capt. Brian Cournane took the win in Saturday’s $36,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic with The Irish Sport Horse mare Penelope Cruz.
“She’s so confident on grass, indoors, outdoors,” said Cournane. “She’s great because she can win a class like this, and then she can also – if my other horses can’t jump the Grand Prix – she can go and jump the Grand Prix. I’d like to think there’s a Grand Prix win in her. I’d love to do that just for the mare because she’s such a good mare.”
Prior to Cournane’s win on Saturday, Derry’s Daniel Coyle beat a field of 49 top under 25-year-old riders to win the $10,000 Hermès U25 Grand Prix Series with his own nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse CHS Krooze.
IRISH NATIONS CUP TEAM NAMED
Irish development team manager Michael Blake named his team for this evening’s (Sunday) first Longines FEI Nations Cup competition of the 2019 season at Deeridge Farms in Wellington, Florida, USA as part of the 2019 Palm Beach Masters Series.
Twenty-one-year-old Cormac Hanley from Mayo will make his senior Nations Cup debut. Ireland, sponsored by Devenish and The Underwriting Exchange, have been drawn fourth to jump of six teams, lining out as follows:
Cork’s Shane Sweetnam with Indra van de Oude Heihoef – owned by The Blue Buckle Group
Mayo’s Cormac Hanley with VDL Cartello – owned by Heathman Farm LLC
Limerick’s Paul O’Shea with Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu – owned by Machu Picchu Partners LLC
Down’s Conor Swail with Rubens LS La Silla – owned by Rose Hill Farm
The competition gets underway at 6.30pm Irish time and is live on FEITV
The Irish Show Jumping team is sponsored by Devenish and The Underwriting Exchange.
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