German riders enjoyed a strong start on home soil in the first leg of the 2011 Rolex FEI World Cup jumping final in Leipzig.

Marco Kutscher took top spot in this opening speed class riding Cash, with title-holder Marcus Ehning (Sabrina) in second and Christian Ahlmann (Taloubet Z) in third. Just 0.5sec separated the first three.

Ireland’s Billy Twomey and the 14-year-old mare Tinka’s Serenade hit the back rail of an oxer to finish in 16th place (just behind Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Shutterfly) on four faults while Denis Lynch (Abbervail Van Het Dingeshof) took a tumble through the combination and was eliminated. The 34-year-old was said to be none the worse for his fall.

Billy was confident beforehand, saying: “I’m in it to win, and hopefully my horses can keep up the form they’ve been in and we can give it a proper go.

“I will be using Tinka’s Serenade for all the World Cup classes, as she has proved she can be strong in all phases, I also have Romanov for the grand prix and Molly Malone for the young horse classes. We had a warm up class yesterday and Tinka was sixth and I was pleased with the way she jumped.”

There are no British riders competing in the World Cup, although Ellen Whitaker is competing in the supporting classes.

The second round takes place tomorrow (Friday) and points calculated from these first two competitions will determine who goes through to Sunday’s final.

Don’t miss full report in next week’s H&H (out 5 May).