DENIS Lynch repeated one of his career-best victories at the Piazza di Siena on Sunday when he won the Rolex Grand Prix at the CSIO5* for the second time, becoming the only Irish person to win the class twice.

The 2008 win came aboard his great longtime partner Lantinus, however last weekend’s victory was with Molly Ohrstrom’s 13-year-old gelding Brooklyn Heights (Nabab de Reve x For Pleasure), who he only began riding in February.

Uliano Vezzani built a big track for the 50 horse and rider combinations who qualified to take on the feature class, and somewhat amazingly, 16 of them managed to go clear in the first round, with just 13 opting to return for the jump-off.

With the quickest round first time out, Lynch had the best draw of last to go and his time of 42.52 relegated long-time German leader Jana Wargers into second place with Limbridge. Wagers is based at Irishman Enda Carroll’s Ashford Farm in Belgium and Carroll also owns the horse with the rider and Jos Lansink.

The Italian crowd were happy when Piergiorgio Bucci finished in third place on the podium with Cochello when clear in 45.78. Nicola Philippaerts (Katanga V/H Dingeshof) and Emanuele Camilli (Chadellano PS) were also clear and finished in fourth and fifth places.

Lynch took the top prize of €112,500 with the gelding who was previously campaigned at five-star level by Portugal’s Rodrigo Giesteira Almeida. Speaking at the press conference, Lynch said: “When I got him in the beginning I tried to go quick and it was disastrous, but in the last few weeks the horse has really grown with me, and given me and him incredible confidence.”

Talking about the jump-off, he added: “I didn’t think I was that quick actually as I was riding around so the horse must be naturally very fast across the fence. I was in a good starting position (going last) and what really motivated me was Jana - I knew I had to to do better than her or forget it, and the last Irishman that actually won this competition was me so I had a good feeling!

“On Thursday my horse jumped great, he was great in Madrid, he nearly won in Mexico so he is really fond of big grass arenas so I think I took advantage of that and his form - he’s in great form - and I love Bella Roma! I have some great memories from here.”

It was Dutchman Eric van der Vleuten who told Lynch about Brooklyn Heights last year. “He said he could be an interesting horse although he is quite strong. He’s a bit special, I’ve never had a horse like this before with his mentality. He’s not typical, he likes to be hacked out, you don’t work him at home, he’s a special character and when we tried him and bought him we thought he’d be a good 1.50m horse.

“When he jumps 1.10m it feels big, when you jump 1.20m it feels big but when you get him in the arena in a good canter he really excels and it’s really incredible what he’s done today,” said Lynch who as an Irish winner follows in his own footsteps from 2008 and in those of the legends Eddie Macken with Boomerang in 1978, Capt William Ringrose in 1961, and Capt John Lewis in 1938.

Kenny on a roll

Darragh Kenny won two big five-star classes at the venue with Volnay du Boisdeville. He won the opening day’s feature 1.55m class when best of 26 clear rounds in 60.96 seconds. Giulia Martinengo Marquet took the runner-up spot for Italy, ahead of Frenchman Simon Delestre in third.

Kenny and the 13-year-old stallion posted their second win of the week in Friday’s Land Rover Speed class when clear in 55.84, pinning Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs into runner-up spot with The Sinner and America’s Laura Kraut into third. 57.53. Co Meath’s Alexander Butler finished fourth with Eindhoven G.H.

“He’s just an incredible horse and I’m so lucky to have him. I wasn’t expecting him to do two wins in a row like that but he’s in good form - he’s super rideable so you can do any stride you want, he can do inside turns so easily and he’s just a great, great horse,” Kenny commented.

Ireland seventh in Rome Nations Cup

MICHAEL Blake’s Irish team finished equal seventh of 10 team in Friday’s Nations Cup at the Piazza di Siena. Blake selected Denis Lynch (Cristello), Cian O’Connor (C Vier 2), Darragh Kenny (VDL Cartello) and Bertram Allen (Pacino Amiro) to line out.

O’Connor produced the only clear in the first round with his new mount, owned by Susan Magnier, who was previously campaigned by Germany’s David Will. Lynch and Kenny finished with four faults, while Allen picked up 12 faults.

Allen was subsequently disqualified following a rule violation and could not jump the second round, where O’Connor picked up eight faults and Kenny finished with four faults. Despite an excellent clear by Lynch, Ireland had to count the 12 faults, which saw them finish with a total of 20.

Following Allen’s disqualification, a statement from the FEI said: “The FEI confirms that horse Pacino Amiro ridden by Irish athlete Bertram Allen was eliminated from the event at Piazza di Siena on Friday 27 May due to a violation of the FEI Veterinary Regulations. In accordance with Annex 6, Article 1056 Administration of treatment to a Horse on the day of Competition before the Horse competes unless authorised by the Veterinary Commission/ Veterinary Delegate and Article 1059 which states that a Person unauthorised in possession of syringes, needles or similar equipment within the FEI event site. This results in elimination from the entire event. The horse has been submitted for EADCM testing.” Victory went to the French team who finished on a perfect score of zero, ahead of Belgium in second on four faults.