Equestrian: Denis Lynch wins $132,000 first prize in Hong Kong

‘I never see myself as a favourite. I didn’t feel the pressure. Pressure is for tyres’

Denis Lynch and Chablis salute the crowd after winning the Longines Masters of Hong Kong Grand Prix. Photograph: Jessica Rodrigues

Denis Lynch and Chablis salute the crowd after winning the Longines Masters of Hong Kong Grand Prix. Photograph: Jessica Rodrigues

 

Early results from the international equestrian scene on Sunday saw a show jumping win for Ireland’s Denis Lynch in Hong Kong and another podium finish in dressage for Judy Reynolds in Neumünster, Germany.

Lynch’s success came in the Longines 1.60m Grand Prix where, from a starting line-up of 26, just three riders produced a clear first round. They were joined in the jump-off by nine others who had picked up a maximum of five faults.

Fastest against the clock (37.42) was the Co Antrim-owned Irish Sport Horse mare Suma’s Zorro ridden by Egypt’s Sameh El Dahan. However, carrying four faults into the jump-off where the 15-year-old again had a pole down, El Dahan had to settle for eighth place.

Lynch didn’t hang around in recording his second clear with Stacey Webb’s 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Chablis and, in 39.35, secured the first prize of US$132,000. France’s Simon Delestre concluded his visit to Hong Kong with a slow and steady clear on Uccello du Will (47.07) to finish second. Clear in the first round, Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer failed to repeat the feat in the jump-off and so had to settle for third with About A Dream.

“I never see myself as a favourite,” said Lynch. “I didn’t feel the pressure. Pressure is for tyres.”

“The course designer today did an amazing job. 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.”

Riding the 17-year-old Jazz gelding Vancouver K, owned by her parents Joe and Kathleen, Reynolds achieved an Irish international record score of 82.750 per cent when placing third in the FEI World Cup Grand Prix Kür in Neumünster.

An excellent performance of her new ‘Lord of the Dance’- themed freestyle to music programme saw Reynolds break her own record Irish international Grand Prix Kür (freestyle to music) score of 80.29% which was set only last month in Amsterdam. The Kildare native is the first Irish rider to finish in the top three in an FEI Western European League Grand Prix Kür.

“J.P. (Vancouver K) was much more relaxed today, he was a little bit spooky in the Grand Prix yesterday,” commented Germany-based Reynolds. “He is so experienced now and much more comfortable which means I can ride him more forward. However, we can still do better. My aim is to qualify for the finals (in Gothenburg in April) and I’m hoping to compete in the final qualifier in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands next month.”

Isabell Werth and Weihegold, the number one dressage combination in the world, topped the scoring in Sunday’s qualifier on 86.810% ahead of fellow German pairing, Helen Langehanenberg with Damsey (83.825).

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