Cian O'Connor
Olympic Bronze Medallist

News: 2009

Cian And Rancorrado Win Olympia Grand Prix

In only his second year competing at Olympia, Cian won the Alltech Olympia Grand Prix tonight, reversing the Sunday night result and this time beating Eric van der Vleuten to the coveted trophy.

It is the first time an Irish rider has won the five star Grand Prix at Olympia since Eddie Macken triumphed in 1987. Cian beat a starting field of 32, comprising some of the world's best riders and horses, and was only one of two combinations to achieve a double clear.

He said after his win: "I am ecstatic at this win. It is a tribute to a truly great horse that he came second in the World Cup Qualifier last night, and then took first place tonight over a really demanding track. It's a great Christmas present for me and my staff, andI have to thank Rancorrado's owner Aileen Bryan for her wonderful support. Without her this would not have been possible."

Personal World Cup Best For Cian And Rancorrado At Olympia

Rancorrado gave Cian his best-ever Rolex World Cup Qualifier finish tonight at Olympia, when he came 2nd in the big 1m60 class. One of 11 through to the jump off, Cian was the first to go clear, and only Eric van der Vleuten managed to beat his time, and only by half a second in the closing minutes of the competition.

Afterwards Cian said: " This was a terrific night for me. The horse is just brilliant, and really proved his worth here at this prestigious show. To come second at any World Cup Qualifier is a real achievement at this level, but Olympia is special, and I am absolutely delighted."

Good Weekend At Gucci Masters

Cian narrowly missed the jump-off in Sunday's Gucci Grand Prix in Paris, when Rancorrado touched the final pole on the course in the first round. Cian said: "It's very frustrating when that happens. We had a similarly unlucky pole down on Saturday night. But it wasn't the horse's fault. I do feel that we are knocking on the door, and that a major win will come soon."

Splendor gave Cian a fourth and a sixth place in the two 1m40 competitions on Friday and Sunday, and Rancorrado was also placed three times, in the big classes which he jumped.

Cian Receives Personal Invitation To Olympia

Cian was really pleased about receiving a personal invitation to Olympia in London later this month. The Irish Federation only gets one spot for the World Cup shows, and Team Manager Robert Splaine has divided that amongst the riders, giving the Olympia selection on this occasion to Billy Twomey.

But in a positive development today, Cian received a personal invite from Olympia to appear there before Christmas. Cian said tonight: "I was thrilled to have received the invitation to be at Olympia this year. It's one of my favourite shows in the world. And for me it's especially important to put your best foot forward when competing there and doing as well as you can, for the show gets massive tv and radio coverage which gives us as riders unquantifiable benefits through the exposure."

Two Good Results At Marseille

Cian took second place in Friday's Grand Prix Qualifier with Rancorrado, behind France's Kevin Staut. On Saturday he had a 3rd with Irish Independent Echo Beach in the Two Phase class.

Echo Beach Second At Verona

Irish Independent Echo Beach gave Cian a 2nd place in the World Ranking speed class at Verona in Italy today, just a fifth of a second behind French winner Julien Epaillard.

Cian Rises To 30th Rank In World

Today's Rolex World Ranking table released by the FEI shows that Cian has now jumped to his highest ever position in the charts with a 30th place. His previous place was 41st. Denis Lynch is now Ireland's highest-placed rider at 17th, with Jessica Kurten at 19th. Below Cian come Billy Twomey at 40th, Cameron Hanley at 61st and Darragh Kerins at 97th.

Cian Does The Double At Lyon World Cup

Cian had a remarkable second win in Lyon, France on Saturday night, taking the big 1m55 class with Rancorrado. In a 14 horse jump-off he just beat fellow Irish rider Cameron Hanley and Southwind VDL across the beam, thereby giving Ireland a one-two in the day's feature contest.

Cian said: "Rancorrado jumped clear in the Nations' Cup at Calgary six weeks ago and has only done Cavan since then to give him a taste of indoor competition. So this is his first major show since Calgary, and that shows you what class he has. In Lyon he's up against some of the world's top horses."

Complete gave Cian his first win of the World Cup show in Lyon on Friday when the combination triumphed over a 48-strong field to win the 2-Phase competition.

Cian said afterwards: "Complete was fantastic. This is a five star show and we were up against the top riders in the world. I was second last to go, and won by almost two seconds. There were almost 50 riders in the class, so this is a great boost, and a fantastic way to start the weekend."

Cian Wins Tripoli Leading Rider And Grand Prix

Cian today won the Grand Prix at Tripoli in Libya with Irish Independent Echo Beach, beating his nearest challenger by almost three seconds. On the opening day, Tuesday, Echo Beach also gave him a 2nd place in the opening competition, and on the day's main event he took 4th with Splendor.

On Wednesday Splendor won the main class, and Echo Beach was 2nd in the Grand Prix Qualifier.

In today's Grand Prix, Cian was last to go of six clears, and as well as winning the competition he also received the show's Leading Rider Award to round off a superb three days.

Cian And Mark Head Off To Belgium

Cian and Mark Kinsella are competing in Moorsele in Belgium this weekend at the four star show there. Cian takes Complete, Baloufina and Splendor, while Mark rides PS I Love You, Irish Independent Echo Beach and Calistra.

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