They were a successful bronze-medal winning partnership in last year's London's Olympics, and reunited today, Cian O'Connor and Blue Loyd took the RDS by storm to win the Grand Prix on the last day of competition at the Dublin Horse Show. In a field of 40 riders, the pair recorded a lightning fast time and a double clear early on. The nearest challenger was the Ukraine's Ulrich Kirchhoff riding Carlina, the only other pair with a double clear. But Cian's time proved hard to beat and Kirchhoff finished in second place a full 4 seconds behind. Ben Maher of Great Britain finished in 3rd with one fence down.
Cian had this to say after his victory in Dublin:
A day I will never forget! Blue Loyd and I won the 5star Grand Prix at CSIO Dublin today against a world class field. It was an amazing experience that I will cherish forever. Last year we came close when finishing third and I'm so grateful to Nikki for allowing me ride Loyd again in Dublin this year. The audience were amazing - it was like a fairytale end to an outstanding horse show week!
Irish Independent: Cian O'Connor claims Grand Prix success at the RDS »
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Today's update from Cian O'Connor:
Just watched a fantastic puissance competition with victory going to Daniel Bluman from Colombia - who really got the crowd going! No prizes today for me but the horses are jumping well and ready for a good final day here at the R.D.S tomorrow. I will jump Gain Line in the 7 & 8 year old final tomorrow morning, Unique in the speed championship and Blue Loyd in the Grand Prix. Hoping for a big result in all three classes - fingers crossed!!
Team Ireland finished in joint 3rd place in the Aga Khan Trophy at the RDS, sharing the honour with the US Team after some great performances from Dermott Lennon, Shane Breen, Conor Swail and Cian O'Connor. A super second round of jumping meant that the final positions were decided only after the last jump which secured second place for the Netherlands and a well earned win for Great Britain. The result ensures Ireland's participation in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup final, which takes place in Barcelona next month.
Great atmosphere today at the R.D.S - the public were fantastic as always and equally supporting of all countries - well perhaps a louder cheer for us! The Irish Team finished third in the Aga Khan cup but all the horses and riders performed well. Great Britain were two fences better than us at the end. As usual a fantastic enjoyable day - and for me personally it's without doubt the most thrilling competition of the year! Blue Loyd was fantastic as usual and I'm thrilled to have been able to have him for the team today.
Determined by a draw at the RDS today, the starting order for Friday's Aga Khan Trophy has been announced. Ireland will advantageously be the last of the eight teams to jump in this, the final leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Series of 2013. Team Ireland is currently in sixth place in the series, and must stay in the top six if they wish to make the final in Barcelona in September. But for now, all eyes will be focused on tomorrow's competition, which last year was won by Team Ireland for the first time since 2004. Cian had this to say of the day's jumping:
QUIETER DAY with just Unique jumping in the big speed. Gave it a go and had the middle of combination when in contention. He jumps next on Saturday. Blue Loyd has been selected for the Irish team tomorrow along with Dermott Lennon, Shane Breen and Conor Swail. Big day ahead and looking forward to it. Heard a good saying earlier in the week when I asked a rider how they felt about the week - "clear head and clean underpants and we should be fine!"
Watch Cian and Team Ireland jump from 14h55 tomorrow at the RDS in Dublin.
GREAT START on Day 1 of the Dublin Horse Show. Blue Loyd jumped superbly in the opening class where I took my time to just get him used to the arena again. Unique won that same class from an early draw and despite 50 others coming behind us we just did enough to secure the win. Cooper was outstanding in the 1.60m class jumping clear and one down in the jump off. Gain Line jumped a super double clear in the international young horse class to place 5th. Couldn't be happier with how they all performed. Thursday will be a quieter day for me with just one horse - Unique, to jump in tomorrow afternoons 1.60m Grand Prix qualifier.
Irish Examiner: O'Connor wins it in cruise control »
The 2013 Dublin Horse Show kicks off today at the RDS in Ballsbridge, and Cian is looking forward to the week ahead. The show always has a great crowd, and has long been one of Cian's favourite competitions in the showjumping calendar.
Having arrived at the RDS yesterday, the horses are installed in their boxes, rested and ready for a big week. Unique who jumped brilliantly last week will be joined by his stable mates Cooper, Blue Loyd and Gain Line.
Last year, Ireland won the Aga Khan trophy for the first time since 2004, so it will be a very exciting and competitive event this year. Good luck to Team Ireland!
Check back on Cian's homepage for his daily diary during the competition.
The Tattersalls Horse Show provided a good weekend's jumping with it's three grass arenas giving great mileage to Cian's young horses.
Apolonia jumped out of her skin in the 1.50m Premier Grand Prix, going clear in the first round, and with the fastest time in the second round. Though she unluckily knocked the back pole going into the double to finish in fourth place with just one fault, Cian was pleased with her performance.
Cian's horses for the Dublin Horse Show (7 - 11 August) are having a well deserved rest to freshen up from their international travels, and Cian will compete some younger horses at Coilog this weekend in the South County Dublin Show.
Next week, Cian reunites with Blue Lloyd for most of the international classes at Dublin. Watch the video below to re-live their famous partnership at last year's London Olympics:
Starting off the weekend on a quiet note Cian saved the best till last, winning 2 out of the 3 classes on Sunday.
Unique didn't disappoint by winning the 1m45 class on Sunday morning. Early to go against 22 other combinations he was only one of 4 that completed the course clear and in the fastest time. Gain Line jumped out of his skin all week and finished in the final against 45 other top combinations; there were 12 clears in the 1st round. In the 2nd round Gain Line proved to be very fast against the clock, clearing the course in 39.48 taking an early lead.
Cian said “I was thrilled with Gain Line today, this was the first time I have asked him to go against the clock but with his big stride, scope and natural balance he was able to take out strides on the lines and turn up tight to fences and I think that is where we gained the time.”
Cooper jumped well all weekend and with their partnership still developing, Cooper is going from strength to strength finishing the Grand Prix with one fence down.
CIAN O'CONNOR joined Steve Guerdat and Gerco Schroder in front of the famous Chateau de Chantilly for the first time since they stood together on the podium in Greenwich Village in last year's London Olympic Games, to share their feelings about what it's like to win an Olympic medal and how it feels now, almost a year later.
View this exclusive interview below or on Longines Global Champions Tour »