/ Equestrian

O'Connor wins Longines Grand Prix

Updated: Sunday, 11 Aug 2013 18:25 | Comments

Cian O'Connor and Blue Loyd have won the Longines Grand Prix
Cian O'Connor and Blue Loyd have won the Longines Grand Prix

Ireland's Olympic bronze medallist Cian O'Connor has won the Longines Grand Prix at the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show with his Olympic mount Blue Loyd.

One of ten through to the jump-off from a starting field of 40, the Meath-based rider led from the start with a scorching time of 56.50, and saw off a challenge from the Ukraine's Ulrich Kirchhoff and Carlina.

O'Connor and Kirchhoff recorded the competition's only double clear rounds, with the Irishman picking up €66,000 in prize money for his first place.

The Grand Prix, which attracted some of the world's top riders and horses, also saw Co. Louth's Mark McAuley and Par Trois finish in sixth, with Down's Conor Swail and Lansdowne in seventh.

Though O'Connor sold Blue Loyd shortly after the Olympics, the horse's new owner Nicole Walker has lent the Irish rider his former mount on several important occasions this year.

O'Connor also rode Blue Loyd in Friday's Aga Khan Trophy competition, where their two rounds helped Ireland qualify for the Furusiyya Nations' Cup Final at Barcelona next month.

Speaking after this triumph, O'Connor said: "The Longines Grand Prix at Dublin is a Grand Prix every Irish rider wants to win, and I'm just overwhelmed at my victory today.

"The horse jumped so well for me, both on Friday and today, and I'm very grateful to Blue Loyd's owner Nicole Walker for making him available to me at one of the greatest shows in the world."

Earlier in the day Tipperary's Shane Breen won the Speed Championship on Ominerale Courcelle, with 18 year-old Bertram Allen and Wild Thing L close behind in second.

At the finish of the show, Wexford-bron Allen was awarded the coveted Longines Leading International Rider trophy.

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