A flawless performance from Ireland’s Darragh Kenny saw him claim a place on a star-studded podium following today’s (Sunday) €200,000 five-star Longines Grand Prix at La Baule in France, with the Offaly rider finishing in third place after a thrilling jump-off. At the finish, Kenny’s performance was only bettered by the current World Champions and the World’s top-ranked rider.
Eight of the 45 starters made it through to the second round jump-off, with Kenny partnering the Kerry Anne LLC-owned gelding Important De Muze to the fastest of the first round clears, to give him the best position of last to go against the clock. The Irishman once again kept all the fences standing in the decider and crossed the line in 43.90 seconds to finish just over half a second behind the winner. Victory went to the current World Champion pairing of Germany’s Simone Blum and DSP Alice after they stopped the clock in 43.33 when second last to go. They pushed the current World number 1, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, into second with Albfuehren”s Bianca (43.82).
Louth’s Mark McAuley (Vivaldi Du Theil) and Cork’s Shane Sweetnam (Alejandro) were among the group of riders who missed out on the jump-off after finishing with four faults. Cian O’Connor finished with five faults with his relatively new mount PSG Final who is just a nine-year-old. Kenny, O’Connor, Sweetnam and Paul O’Shea were part of the Irish team, sponsored by Devenish and The Underwriting Exchange who finished fourth in the Longines FEI Nations Cup at La Baule on Friday.