Ireland’s Cian O’Connor has been crowned Leading Show Jumper of the Year, after winning the curtain-closing Grand Prix at The Horse Of The Year Show in Birmingham last night (Sunday). O’Connor produced an outstanding double clear round with the 10-year-old gelding Super Sox, stopping the clock in 32.49 seconds to take the title…
Ireland’s Cian O’Connor has been crowned Leading Show Jumper of the Year, after winning the curtain-closing Grand Prix at The Horse Of The Year Show in Birmingham last night (Sunday). O’Connor produced an outstanding double clear round with the 10-year-old gelding Super Sox, stopping the clock in 32.49 seconds to take the title by four hundredths of a second ahead of British legend John Whitaker riding Ornellaia.
Just seven of the 32 starters managed to jump clear over a testing first round course and London Olympic Bronze meddalist O’Connor was in unstoppable form, posting what proved the winning round with Super Sox, who is owned by Chansonette Farm LLC & Ronnoco Jump Ltd.
O’Connor’s win also saw him crowned leading rider of the show following a string of top placings at the British venue. The win was the second time in two years that an Irish rider has won the famous Horse Of The Year Show Grand Prix title, with Cian O’Connor’s win coming on the back of Billy Twomey’s 2015 victory with Diaghilev.
Speaking afterwards Cian O’Connor said: “I was going for a walk this morning, and I thought back to my last time here two years ago, and I had to leave here after the second day because I got the very sad news that my mum had passed away. My mum was always the type of person who would do anything for you, and I just thought I am going to win that Grand Prix tonight, and if I do, I will dedicate it to my mum. There are certain shows that you want to go well at during the year, and this is one of them. I am thrilled with this win, Super Sox was outstanding and I am over the moon to get my hands on this prestigious trophy.”
Tipperary’s Shane Breen also made it into the jump-off and finished in sixth place overall with Market Irminka. Earlier Breen led an Irish one-two in the Speed Horse Of The Year class at HOYS. He partnered the Bina Ford & Breen Equestrian Ltd-owned, Acoustik Solo Du Baloubet, to the quickest clear round in 44.69 seconds. His fellow countryman, Cork’s Billy Twomey, grabbed runner-up spot with Joe Flynn’s Traditional Irish Sport Horse Ardcolum Duke, stopping the clock in 45.09.
Twomey and Ardcolum Duke had earlier taken the winners prize in Saturday’s Accumulator class at HOYS. Shane Breen was also among the prizes in the 1m45 Two Phase class on Sunday afternoon, finishing third with Tango D’Ecry behind British winner Louise Saywell and Feigtling.
RUNNER-UP FINISH FOR CAPT GEOFF CURRAN
Meanwhile at the three-star Arab League World Cup qualifier at Rabat in Morocco, Co Waterford Army rider Capt. Geoff Curran finished as runner-up with the Minister For Defence’s Irish Sport Horse Ringwood Glen.
A tough first round saw none of the 32 starters jump a clear round, with Curran one of 10 combinations who finished with just one fence down, advancing to the jump-off.
Curran and Ringwood Glen (ISH) raced into the lead when posting a superb clear against the clock (43.28), before being outpaced by former World No. 1 Pius Schwitzer and Balou Rubin R. (41.39). Kilkenny’s Marion Hughes also made it through to the second round and eventually finished 10th with Can Ya Makan.
At Dijon in France, Kilkenny’s Susan Fitzpatrick took third spot on the podium in the two-star Grand Prix with Cavalino. In Switzerland, Irish pony riders continued their excellent run of form at Chevenez. Cork’s Abbie Sweetnam won the 1m30 Pony Grand Prix with Dynamite Spartacus and also won the EY Cup as the most consistent rider over the Big Tour series at shows throughout Europe this year, while Co Clare’s Robbie Clancy also won the Small Tour EY Cup for Ireland.