TWO Irish riders finished on the podium in the third leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Mexico City last Saturday evening, where Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum won his second LGCT of the 2022 season in spectacular style.

Denis Lynch set the standard when he produced a brilliant clear in 44.56 when second to go in the six-horse jump-off aboard Molly Ohrstrom’s 13-year-old gelding Brooklyn Heights. The Tipperary native last won a GCT Grand Prix 14 years ago and he meant business in Mexico.

Britain’s only hope in the jump-off, Olympic champion Ben Maher looked on track for a win with Faltic HB in their first CSI5* Grand Prix jump-off together but the tall vertical mid-course caught the pair out and they had to settle for fourth place overall.

With just Beerbaum and Galway’s Michael Duffy left to go and Beerbaum already qualified for the LGCT Super Grand Prix, Duffy knew this was his chance. He gave it everything with HMF Equestrian and Kathryn Duffy’s 11-year-old gelding Zilton SL Z and the talented gelding cruised over the fences but Duffy took a check to the final fence, adding a stride and costing him vital milliseconds in 44.59.

He shook his head as the crowd groaned when it showed his time to be 0.03 seconds slower than Lynch handing him the golden ticket but securing a podium position.

Ludger Beerbaum and his sensational Mila were last to go for the second time this season. Proving once again his sheer class and style, the German rider put Mila in the perfect spot to the last clinching the win ahead of Lynch by 0.05 seconds as the crowd erupted.

An ecstatic Ludger Beerbaum said: “I really didn’t think I could beat the time. I almost went too slowly home because in the end, it was just five hundredths quicker but I am absolutely thrilled and it is thanks to a fantastic horse for this opportunity. She has all the talent. I enjoy the moment and I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Thanking the thousands of spectators, Beerbaum said: “This is something I would really like to say and I don’t say it every week but believe me without the atmosphere, without the crowd cheering all of us on, but especially me, this makes the show so unbelievably special.”

Double for Kenny

Darragh Kenny scored a five-star double on the final day of competition. The first win came in the 1.45m Table A when he guided Great-Tikila J to the fastest of 15 clear rounds in 64.05 seconds. Once again, Denis Lynch was the runner-up, this time with Cornets Iberio when he broke the beams in 65.03. Mikey Pender finished seventh with the Marion Hughes-bred HHS Catwalk (Cit Cat x Clover Echo).

Kenny then won the final 1.50m jump-off class with his Olympic mount VDL Cartello, landing the top price of €25,000. They set the fastest time of 42.84 seconds, ahead of France’s Nina Mallevaey with Kino. Kenny said: “This show is fantastic, I absolutely loved it, the atmosphere is amazing, the crowd are just unbelievable and it’s been really enjoyable to be here, it’s a beautiful show and then next I’ll be in Madrid.”

Kenny was happy to make amends for 12 faults the previous day which kept him out of the Grand Prix. “Well, it’s a better day than yesterday so I’m pretty happy about that. My horse jumped amazing today, I was really happy with him. He feels in good form again. I didn’t have a great day yesterday and today pretty much made up for it.”

Mikey Pender was on the podium in the Global Champions League when St Tropez Pirated finished second behind Hamburg Giants. Pender jumped a sensational double clear with HHS Calais (Cavalier Royale x OBOS Quality).