IN a thrilling finish to the famous Falsterbo Derby in Sweden today, Cork’s Shane Sweetnam was one of just two riders to make it to the jump-off from a starting field of 23, but in the final round had to settle for second place.

Ales Opatrny from the Czech Republic held an early lead with the ten year-old gelding Acovaro, recording the only clear round of the contest, but while other Irish riders had climbed into the top ten with four-fault scores, it was Sweetnam and  Spy Coast Farm’s speed horse Cyklon who produced the second zero score.

Sweetnam lost out to Opatrrny by just under three seconds on the Derby course, but took home 15,000 euro for his runner-up place, while the Czech rider collected 24,750 euro.

Offaly’s Darragh Kenny and Zahra placed fourth in the competition, while Cork’s Billy Twomey and Diaghilev claimed fifth, with Tipperary’s Shane Breen and Acoustik Solo du Baloubet in seventh, all on four faults.

If Sweetnam had won today it would have been his third victory of the five-star show.

Falsterbo’s Grand Prix takes place on Sunday afternoon.