March 27, 2011 - Ireland's Denis Lynch snatched a last-minute place at next month's Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping final in Leipzig, Germany with a superb victory in the final qualifier of the Western European League series at 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands today. Riding the gigantic 11 year old gelding Abbervail van het Dingeshof which belongs to his Swiss patron Thomas Straumann, the Irishman produced a stunning round when eighth to go in the thrilling 17-horse jump-off, and could not be caught despite the best efforts of many of the super-stars who followed him.
"It's my very first World Cup win - I've been trying to do this for the last 15 years and I've been placed plenty of times but I've never come out on top so it feels really good!" Lynch said. "I wanted to make it to the final and this was my last chance - I'm really happy it worked out and I'm delighted with my horse" he added. A total of six Dutch riders went into the jump-off but Jeroen Dubbeldam (BMC Van Grunsven Simon), Eric van der Vleuten (VDL Groep Utascha SFN) and Piet Raijmakers Jr. (Van Schijndel's Rascin) had to settle for second, third and fourth places respectively while Frenchman, Simon Delestre (Couletto), lined up in fifth.
This was a day of intense pressure, and Dutch course designer Louis Konickx was feeling it as much as the riders. "The second part of the start-list was a course-designers nightmare!" he said afterwards. "I didn't want to be over the top with my track so I felt I needed to compromise, but the jump-off worked out very well so I'm satisfied" he added. The ease with which so many managed to keep a clean sheet first time out was indeed surprising but possibly indicative of the familiarity and comfort so many horse-and-rider combinations have developed after the winter-long indoor season, along with the quality of the 40-strong field.
There were two retirements - The Netherlands' Ben Schroder (BMC Unanim) and Henk van de Pol (Abeltje Z), and two eliminations - Finland's Nina Fagerstrom for a fall when Uraquay stopped at the oxer at fence 11 on the 13-fence course and The Netherlands' Leon Thijssen when the agile stallion, Tyson, slammed on the anchors at the first part of the triple combination which was just one fence from home.
Piet Raijmakers Jr wisely decided to opt for a degree of caution when pathfinder against the clock and set a solid target when crossing the line clear in 42.32 seconds. But Konickx's new course was truly testing and the time-allowed of 45 seconds was tight and would play a significant role.
A good left-hand turn to the remaining two elements of the triple combination, now the third obstacle on the track, was the first real influencing factor and that was followed by an oxer, then a roll-back to a massive vertical before a sharp left turn and long run down to the final oxer. Fourth to go, Colombia's Rene Lopez and Noblesse des Tess looked en route to a flawless run until clipping the penultimate vertical, but while Sweden's Malin Baryard-Johnsson (H&M Reveue de Hurtebise) and Portugal's Luciana Diniz (Winningmood) both left all the fences intact, they found themselves carrying three time faults each, and on level pegging when breaking the beam in exactly the same time - 47.13 seconds.
Two horses later however, Lynch set off with a scorching run that stopped the clock in 40.66 seconds and that really put it up to the remaining nine runners. Not only did they have leave the course intact but they would be pushed to the limit to better his speed and when three-time Rolex FEI World Cup™ jumping champion Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum tried to shave off fractions of seconds with an angled approach to the penultimate vertical she paid the ultimate price as Checkmate ran out to the left and picked up significant time penalties as a result.
With the excitement mounting with every ride, her fellow-countryman Ludger Beerbaum's mare Gotha drifted left at the second element of the former triple combination to also disappear from the reckoning and although Simon Delestre and Van der Vleuten were both foot-perfect the Irishman was still in the driving seat as Dubbeldam arrived as last rider into the ring. "I under-estimated Denis's time" the Dutchman admitted afterwards. "My horse is faster than his, but I didn't want to over-ride him because then he gets aggressive and can make a mistake - I wanted to ride fast but think slow, but I was just a bit slower than Denis in the end" he explained.
Following today's competition, John Roche, Jumping Director at the FEI, confirmed the top-18 qualifiers from the Western European League in the following order - Kevin Staut FRA, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum GER, Rolf Goran Bengtsson SWE, Billy Twomey IRL, Ludger Beerbaum GER, Sergio Alvarez Moya ESP, Jeroen Dubbeldam NED, Malin Baryard Johnsson SWE, Simon Delestre FRA, Philipp Weishaupt GER, Christian Ahlmann GER, Luciana Diniz POR, Denis Lynch IRL, Lars Nieberg GER, Harrie Smolders NED, Pius Schwizer SUI, Marco Kutscher GER and Michael Whitaker GBR. Two extra riders have also qualified - three-time champion Rodrigo Pessoa BRA and Australia's Edwina Alexander- while defending champion, Germany's Marcus Ehning, will also compete.
For further information on the 13th leg of the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping series at 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands go to website www.indoorbrabant.com or contact Press Officer Denise van der Net at Email firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: T: +31 (0)499.391687. The Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping FINAL takes place in Leipzig, Germany from 27 April to 1 May. For full details visit www.engarde.de or contact Press Officer Andreas Kerstan at Email email@example.com, Tel +49 4307 827970, Mobile +49 177 753 2624.
RESULT: 1. Abbervail van het Dingeshof (Denis Lynch) IRL 0/0 40.66; 2, BMC Van Grunsven Simon (Jeroen Dubbeldam) NED 0/0 40.97; 3, VDL Groep Utascha SFN (Eric van der Vleuten) NED 0/0 41.74; 4, Van Schijndel's Rascin (Piet Raijmakers Jr.) NED 0/0 42.32; 5, Couletto (Simon Delestre) FRA 0/0 42.57; Equal 6, H&M Reveue de Hurtebise (Malin Baryard-Johnsson) SWE and Winningmood (Luciana Diniz) POR 0/3 47.13; 8, Sterrehof's Tamino (Marc Houtzager) NED 0/4 40.45; 9, Eurocommerce New Orleans (Gerco Schroder) NED 0/4 41.30; 10, Ciske van Overis (Edwina Alexander) AUS 0/4 42.56; 11, Je T'Aime Flamenco (Billy Twomey) IRL 0/4 42.70; 12, Noblesse des Tess (Rene Lopez) COL 0/4 43.61; 13, Audi's Alpapillon-Armanie (Vincent Voorn) NED 0/4 44.11; 14, Taloubet Z (Christian Ahlmann) GER 0/8 44.36; 15, Checkmate (Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum) GER 0/11 51.28; 16, Balourado (Robert Smith) GBR 0/14 46.16; 17, Gotha (Ludger Beerbaum) GER 0/20 60.01; 18, Sam (Albert Zoer) NED 0/4 66.41; 19, Silvana de Hus (Kevin Staut) FRA 0/4 68.95; 20, Cash (Marco Kutscher) GER 0/4 70.74. Full result at www.indoorbrabant.com
Facts and Figures:
Today's competition at 's-Hertogenbosch was the final qualifying opportunity for riders in the Western European League trying to make the cut into the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping final which will take place in Leipzig, Germany 27 April to 1 May.
17 clear in first round today and a total of 5 double-clear performances.
In total there were 13 qualifying legs in the Western European League from which a total of 18 riders will earn a place at the final.
Today's course designer was Louis Konickx from The Netherlands.
President of the Ground Jury was The Netherlands Jan-Willem Koerner.
Foreign Judge was Ms Frances Hesketh Jones (ITA).
The statistics show that, since the inaugural season began in 1978, 's-Hertogenbosch has staged 32 FEI World Cup™ Jumping competitions.
The Netherlands has staged a total of 59,and that there have been 402 competitions in the Western European League.
Worldwide a total of 2,641 FEI World Cup™ Jumping competitions have taken place during the 33-year history of the Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping series.
Denis Lynch, talking about Abbervail van het Dingeshof "he's a great big horse, about 18.2 hands and he's a really good soldier. He has developed a lot physically over the last year and turned into a really nice animal".
Denis Lynch, when asked which horse he will take to the final in Leipzig "I'm not sure yet, my first choice of course would be Lantinus and he's back in action now. He picked up a tendon injury at Basel so he's been off for the last three months but he's come right back again. But I also have this horse and All Inclusive so I'm not sure right now".
Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2010/2011 Western European League - Standings After Round 13 at 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands:
1. Kevin Staut FRA - 96
2. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum GER - 90
3. Rodrigo Pessoa BRA - 85
4. Rolf-Goran Bengtsson SWE - 73
5. Billy Twomey IRL - 69
6. Ludger Beerbaum GER - 66
7. Sergio Alvaez Moya ESP - 61
8. Jeroen Dubbeldam NED - 55
9. Malin Baryard-Johnsson SWE - 55
10. Simon Delestre FRA - 54
11. Philipp Weishaupt GER - 50
12. Edwina Alexander AUS - 50
13. Christian Ahlmann GER - 49
14. Luciana Diniz POR - 48
15. Denis Lynch IRL - 47
16. Lars Nieberg GER - 47
17. Harrie Smolders NED - 43
18. Pius Schwizer SUI - 43
19. Marcus Ehning GER - 41
20. Marco Kutscher GER - 40
21. Michael Whitaker GBR - 37
22. Gerco Schroder NED - 36
23. Carsten-Otto Nagel GER - 33
24. Rene Lopez COL - 33
25. Pilar Cordon ESP - 31
26. Jessica Kuerten IRL - 30
27. Steve Guerdat SUI - 29
28. Nick Skelton GBR - 28
29. Robert Whitaker GBR - 28
30. Leon Thijssen NED - 27
ROLEX FEI WORLD CUP™ JUMPING 2010/2011CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR WESTERN EUROPEAN LEAGUE: 1, Oslo (Norway) 14-17 October; 2, Helsinki (Finland) 21-24 October; 3, Lyon (FRA) 27 Oct-1 November; 4, Verona (Italy) 4-7 November; 5, Stuttgart (Germany) 17-21 November; 6, Geneva (Switzerland) 9-12 December; 7, London-Olympia (Great Britain) 14-20 December; 8, Mechelen (Belgium) 26-30 December; 9, Zurich (SUI) 28-30 January; 10, Bordeaux (France) 4-6 February; 11, Vigo (Spain) 10-13 February; 12, Gothenburg (Sweden) 24-27 February; 13, ‘s-Hertogenbosch (The Netherlands) 24-27 March; FINAL - Leipzig (Germany) 27 April-1 May.
Broadcast Schedule can be downloaded from www.feiworldcup.org
Photo Caption: Ireland's Denis Lynch is presented with his prize by Anthony Schaub from Rolex after securing a place at the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping final at Leipzig, Germany next month with a superb victory at the last Western European League qualifier in 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands today. Photo: FEI/Dirk Caremans.