Cian O'Connor
Olympic Bronze Medallist

News: March, 2012

All set for final showdown in Florida

Cian's two top mounts Blue Loyd and KEC Alligator Alley (right) had another successful weekend at WEF in Florida and are set to make an impression in the final showdown next week.

Cian took Blue Loyd to a new show in Ocala about four hours north of Wellington.

He commented: "It was so nice and was set in a country estate. Loyd won the welcome stakes on Friday and had a fence off in the Grand Prix.

It was nice to take him to another ring and freshen up. He feels in great shape and i'm really looking forward to jumping him next Saturday night in the $500,000 Grand Prix final at Wellington".

“KEC Alligator Alley is certainly not showing any signs of fatigue following this long circuit and is in fact going better and better. In Sunday's 1m50 he put in another great show to finish third behind Scott Brash and Ben Maher. Ballymore Eustace won the 1.35m jump off class on Thursday and is improving all the time.”

Cian finishes second in Wellington Grand Prix

Cian rode the Irish-bred KEC Alligator Alley (right) to second place in tonight's $80,000 Wellington Grand Prix, narrowly missing out on victory to Britain's Nick Skelton and Big Star.

Cian, whose double clear round with Blue Loyd earlier this month helped Ireland finish second in the US Nations' Cup at Wellington, saw two team-mates also finish in the top ten tonight.

Richie Moloney and Ahorn van de Zuuthoeve recorded a fifth place after a single time fault ruled them out of the jump off, while Shane Sweetnam, winner of the WEF Challenge Cup on Thursday, faulted once in the first round with Amaretto Darco, but was fast enough to take seventh overall.

Cian said: "I'm delighted with KEC Alligator Alley who finished 2nd in the $80,000 Grand Prix today behind Nick Skelton and Big Star! We were one of only three clear rounds in the class. It was held in the stadium on grass and many horses were spooky but you can't beat the Irish horse for brain and heart."

Ireland Second in American Nations' Cup

Ireland’s first Nations' Cup team of the 2012 season produced an impressive second place finish of 11 teams on Friday night in Florida with four clear rounds.

Lying third at the halfway mark after zero scores from Shane Sweetnam on Amaretto Darco and Cian with Blue Loyd (right), the Irish quartet went into the second round with just four faults.

Sweetnam faulted once in the final round, but Richie Moloney and the Irish-bred Slieveanorra improved on their first outing, delivering a zero score. Darragh Kerins and the Irish-bred mare Lisona repeated their first round single penalty, but Cian, who was anchor man, produced the team's only double clear round to leave the Irish on just eight team faults at the finish.

Germany won the four-star Nations' Cup on four faults, while Canada took third place on nine faults and the USA and Great Britain tied for fourth place on 22 faults apiece.

Afterwards Team Ireland’s show jumping manager Robert Splaine said: “I was very pleased with all four combinations. We were unlucky in the first round and that was where we could have been stronger.

“However, we were consistent throughout and Cian’s double clear was special. It was rewarding to improve our position from third to second in the second round.”

Cian himself said: "I’m so pleased how Blue Loyd and I are developing as a partnership. Tonight he jumped fantastic and I’m thrilled to have another world class horse to compete at the highest level again".

In addition Cian and KEC Alligator Alley slotted into third place in Saturday’s feature class - the one round speed.

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