Horse Sport Ireland Team Manager Robert Splaine tonight confirmed that Cian and Rancorrado would be members of the 2009 Irish Aga Khan team, for the seventh time in eight years.
The team will be, in alphabetical order:
Cameron Hanley; SIEC Livello
Denis Lynch; Lantinus
Cian O'Connor; Rancorrado
Billy Twomey; Je Taime Flamenco
Cian was a member of the team that last won the Aga Khan at Dublin in 2004, and is pictured above holding the trophy with team mate Billy Twomey and Chef d'Equipe Col. Ned Campion.
Rancorrado once again delivered a very solid performance in the Meydan Nations' Cup at Hickstead, helping the team to finish 3rd overall, and ensuring that Ireland cannot now be relegated from the 2009 Meydan Series, and will therefore compete as one of the world's top ten teams in 2010.
The final scores for Ireland at Hickstead were as follows:
Cameron Hanley; Southwind VDL 8/0
Shane Sweetnam; Amaretto d'Arco 8/16
Cian O'Connor; Rancorrado 4/4
Billy Twomey; KEC Maximum Joe 18/Retd.
Baloufina gave Cian a 4th place in Friday's Two Phase class at La Coruna in Spain, and a 2nd place in Saturday's speed competition. Splendor also delivered a terrific 3rd place in the big jump-off class on Sunday, just 0.16 of a second behind winner Julien Epaillard of France.
Rancorrado gave Cian a fourth place in the Global Champions' Tour 1m50 feature class at Estoril in Portugal today, jumping a superb double clear round. The class was won by Henk van de Pol from the Netherlands with Rhodos.
Ireland finished a creditable 5th in one of the toughest Nations' Cups of the series in Aachen Germany last night. The Irish scores were as follows:
Billy Twomey; Je T'Aime Flamenco 5/5
Capt. David O'Brien; Kiltoom 1/9
Cian O'Connor; Rancorrado 1/4
Denis Lynch; Lantinus Elim/5
Denis Lynch's horse overjumped the middle part of the combination and pecked on landing and he took a fall and so was eliminated, but came back in the second round with five faults.
Cian said afterwards: "This sort of thing has plagued us throughout - one guy kind of falling away unexpectedly through no real fault of their own. I was personally very happy with Rancorrado, one time fault in the first round and touched off the second last fence for four faults in the second round.
"I think Rancorrado will come on from this class, both in experience and fitness, and this will set him up well for major events upcoming. Baloufina also won the Speed Derby on Thursday. She is a class mare with loads of ability. The class here on the first day was very big, 1m50, but nobody could catch her in the Derby over the bank and the dyke. She loves her job and is a pleasure to jump."