Tipperary’s Denis Lynch and Co Louth’s Mark McAuley will bid to become the first ever Irish winners, when the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final gets underway this evening at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris.
After a host of qualifiers held over the last five months at venues around the world, 39 of the world’s top riders from 19 different countries compete in Paris hoping to lift the famous World Cup Final trophy which was won last year by America’s McLain Ward and his brilliant mare HH Azur.
Lynch is no stranger to the World Cup Finals having featured strongly in recent years, including 2016 when he finished fifth overall. His mount on that occasion was All Star and Lynch will once again ride the 15-year-old stallion.
All Star has in the past shown that he is a horse for the big occasion with many impressive performances at championship level – not least at last year’s European Championships in Gothenburg where he was part of Ireland’s gold medal winning team.
Ardee’s Mark McAuley makes his first ever World Cup Final appearance having had an incredible 12 months where his career has gone to a whole new level. McAuley will ride the 14-year-old gelding Miebello and the pair have already shown superb form on French soil when winning the five-star Longines Grand Prix in Lyon last November.
Since its first running 40 years ago, the World Cup final has produced many top class Irish performances including Eddie Macken, Trevor Coyle, Jessica Kurten and Bertram Allen who have all finished on the podium but as yet no Irish rider has taken the coveted top prize.
Tonight McAuley is drawn 13th to jump while Lynch will be 33rd into the arena. This is followed by the second competition on Friday after which the top 30 will go forward to the final round on Sunday. All faults will be carried forward so everything is to play for when the €1.3 million Longines FEI World Cup Final begins tonight in Paris.