Cian O’Connor wins Olympia Horse Show grand prix

  • Cian O’Connor became the first Irishman in 16 years to win the Alltech grand prix at the Olympia Horse Show, producing the fastest of two double clears with Rancorrado.

    Six had made the jump-off over a tough track set by German course-designer Frank Rothenberger. Eric Van Der Vleuten produced the first clear with VDL Groep Tomboy. The pair were fourth to go and opted to jump a steady clear.

    Cian and Aileen Bryan’s 11-year-old son of Gran Corrado also finished with a clean scoresheet, knocking over half a second from Eric’s time. This reversed the Irish and Dutch riders’ placings in the World Cup qualifier.

    Only Michael Whitaker and GIG Amai now posed a threat and although the pair beat Cian’s time, two down meant they finished eventual sixth.

    “Winning this and finishing second yesterday means this was Rancorrado’s best weekend to date,” said Cian. “Just being at this show is very special, it’s one of the best in the world.”

    Martin Collins eraser stakes

    After proving himself as a power jumper by winning the Renault Christmas masters on Saturday, Wonderboy III showed he can also go fast, too, winning the Martin Collins eraser stakes.

    “I didn’t push him too much,” said Ben. “Just kept him within his comfort zone.”

    The big grey, who is owned by Ben and the Quainton Stud, had no need to jump the option eraser fence — which deletes four faults if jumped clear — as he had jumped a faultless round to take the class.

    Peter Charles (Murka’s Midnightlady) and Cameron Hanley (Southwind VDL) tied for first place in the six-bar after both clearing the 1.90m (6ft 3in) final fence in the fifth round.

    Both horses were jumping in the class for the first time and Peter’s mare, a new arrival on his yard, was jumping so well, Peter wanted to go again.

    “But they rules state it can only be a maximum of five rounds,” said Peter. “I’d have liked to have gone higher.”

    Avoiding a tight turn in the JJs junior jumping stakes, a national class for 148cm ponies, proved to be the quickest route on the course.

    Jessica Mendoza opted to take the longer approach to the third fence in the four-pony jump-off with Tixylix and her decision gained her another victory with the triple international grand prix winner.

    Don’t miss H&H’s full report on all the action from Olympia, on sale Thursday 24 December, ’09

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