A classy clear round of jumping by Denis Lynch and All Star has kept the pairing in contention for the Longines FEI World Cup after the second day of action at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, USA, but the single time fault the pairing incurred denied them a chance of getting close to the top of the overall leaderboard.

The time penalty ruled Lynch out of the jump-off, but the performance was enough for a 10th-place finish on the day, and an improvement in the overall standings from 21st place to 13th ahead of Sunday’s finale.

Alan Wade’s course proved beyond the scope of the early combinations as the competition unfolded and the Omaha indoor venue witnessed a lot of poles tumbling. Even the great German rider Ludger Beerbaum had three down with a seemingly below-par Chiara.

The clock was also proving a big problem and the time allowed was increased form 71 to 73 seconds, but even then the first three riders to clear all the obstacles – Canada’s Keean White, Italian Lorenzo De Luca and then Lynch – all incurred a time penalty.

Clears inside the time finally began to emerge as those ranked in the top half of the standings after Thursday’s round entered proceedings, with Marcus Ehning (Pret A Tout) the first to come home on a zero score. Five others eventually joined him in the jump-off, including overnight leader McLain Ward (HH Azur) who delighted the locals by getting the home flag into the decider.

In the jump-off, it was Ward again who raised the roof when as last to go he smashed the time of Belgian leader Gregory Wathelet (Forlap) by two and a half seconds. Swiss rider Romain Duguet took third on Twentytwo des Biches, a second behind Wathelet.

Ward now leads the World Cup Final standings on a converted total of zero faults, with Wathelet second on three faults and Duguet next on four. Denis Lynch, on fifteen faults, probably has too much ground to make up, but a top ten finish is still within his grasp.

Lynch and All Star finished fifth in last year’s Final in Gothenburg.

Mike Dunne