A determined-looking Denis Lynch brought out his top horse, All Star, for tonight’s Longines Grand Prix in the grounds of the Royal Hospital in London’s Chelsea, and made the first round look easy.
The Tipperary rider ended up, however, as one of 11 clears from a starting field of 24, and faced considerable opposition for the jump-off, not least from his fellow-countryman Bertram Allen with Hector van d’Abdijhoeve, a combination that had jumped clear in the afternoon’s Global Champions League competition.
Also up against Lynch were Scott Brash, the British gold medallist from the 2012 Olympics, and Ben Maher, who had been on the same team as Brash when Britain won at London.
Allen and Hector removed themselves from contention when having two poles down in the jump-off, but Lynch put in a fault-free round with All Star, going into the lead on a time of 39.35 seconds.
However, Brash and the 11 year-old Hello Forever then shaved fractions of a second off the Irish rider’s time to take over the lead, and though Lynch now looked certain to claim the runner-up prize, he was once again narrowly outpaced, this time by Maher, who slotted the bay mare MTF Madame X into second place as last man in.
Nevertheless, Lynch took home 45,000 euro for his third place, while Maher claimed 60,000 and Brash 99,000.
Afterwards Lynch said: ““I came with my two best horses so expectations were quite high. We won the league competition and were third in the Grand Prix so I’m delighted with both horses. All Star is not the quickest horse, and we are all well aware of that. I did less strides maybe here and there but the horses that came after me were naturally quicker horses across the fences and that’s what caught me but I’m delighted with my horse today.”