Richie Moloney was denied victory right at the end of the main class on the opening day of Week 3 at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida on Wednesday.

As sixth to go in the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1m45 speed class, the Irish rider set what proved to be a super-sharp time of 65.16 on Alsvid.

There were still 40 combinations to follow, but Moloney’s time was proving beyond them with only three riders posting clears under 66 seconds.

It was left to the last rider in, America’s Todd Minikus, to snatch victory with Zephyr, the pairing getting ahead of the long-time Irish leader by over a second in 63.95.

Chile’s Samuel Parot, who held second place most of the way, ended in third with JK Horsetrucks Chantilly in 65.34.

In the FEI $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1m40 class, Ireland’s Kevin Babington finished second on Mark Q, failing by just one-hundredth of a second to catch leader Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil on Chaco. USA’s Andrew Kocher and Zantos took third, just four-hundredths of a second behind Babington.

Ronan McGuigan produced an Irish win when steering Capall Zidane to a clear-cut success in the national 1m40 Illustrated Properties contest, almost seven seconds faster than runner-up Erynn Ballard of Canada and Cassey 5, with German Markus Beerbaum third on Contina R.

Mike Dunne