Ireland has a healthy representation within the qualifying zone for the Longines FEI World Cup Final ahead of the next round in the series at La Coruna on December 11th.

There are at present three Irish riders in the top 18 in the Western European League standings, which is the cut-off point for qualification for the Final next Spring.

Denis Lynch’s fifth place finish on All Star 5 in Sunday’s Madrid round lifted him into 10th place, one notch ahead of Cian O’Connor, while Shane Breen lies in 14th position.

Only Germany, with five, currently has more riders in qualifying positions than Ireland.

Next best of the Irish is Darragh Kenny in 27th position.

Kevin Staut of France heads the standings, with Swiss riders Romain Duguet and Steve Guerdat occupying second and third respectively.

The next round takes place in La Coruna in Spain on December 11th – the first time a round of the competition will be held at this venue.

In the North American Eastern sub-Division of the series, which is headed by USA’s Kent Farrington, Shane Sweetnam stands best of the Irish in 14th place, with Richie Moloney 18th and Conor Swail in a share of 30th.

The Western sub-Division sees Irish rider James Chawke in 28th place, with the standings being headed by Mexican Enrique Gonzales.

No Irish rider has won the FEI World Cup in its 38-year history. Trevor Coyle finished second in 1999 with Cruising, while in 2006 Jessica Kurten and Castle Forbes Libertina lost by a single time fault to Germany’s Marcus Ehning and Sandro Boy in Kuala Lumpur. Eddie Macken (Carrolls of Dundalk, 1979) and Bertram Allen (Molly Malone V, 2015) are the only other Irish riders to make the podium, both finishing third.

In the most recent Final in Gothenburg last April, Denis Lynch and All Star finished fifth.

The Longines FEI World Cup Final will be held at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska, beginning at the end of March.

Mike Dunne