O'Connor among medals at London International Horse Show

O'Connor among medals at London International Horse Show

Olympic bronze medallist Cian O'Connor won his second major class of the week at the London International Horse Show today.

Irishman O'Connor and the 13-year-old Splendor followed up Wednesday night's Christmas Pudding Stakes victory by taking the Santa Stakes in impressive fashion.

They were more than a second clear of runner-up Penelope Leprevost after seven horses from a 27-strong field made the jump-off.

French challenger Leprevost and Nice Stephanie edged Portugal's Luciana Diniz (Fit for Fun) into third, with leading British contender Michael Whitaker (fourth) and London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Nick Skelton (Heracross) fifth.

O'Connor's latest win took him into eighth place in the race to become Olympia's leading rider of the show this year with just over three days' competition left.

The 33-year-old increased his week's winnings by another £5,000 (€6,144), and he said: "It's always great to win any class, but hearing your national anthem in London is very special.

"This little city has been lucky for me this year."

Cheshire teenager Emily Ward produced a stunning performance to win the Team Murka and World Class Programme Under-23 British Championship.

At just 13 years of age, Ward became the event's youngest winner as she showcased her outstanding potential, taking a class that numbers 2012 Olympic team gold medallist Scott Brash among its former champions.

Among the riders left trailing in her wake were established performers like Joe Clayton, William Whitaker, Dan Neilson and Chloe Aston.

Ward, riding the Michael Whitaker-owned Witch, landed a £5,100 (€6,267) top prize with her jump-off time of 38.69 seconds. Abbie Squires (Vilka B) was second, Clayton (Mr Darcy) third, Sally Hopkinson (Theunis) fourth and Jessica Mendoza (Classic Highfly) fifth.

"I am overwhelmed with how well the horse jumped," said Ward, who lives in Neston and attends Upton Hall for Girls School.

"Coming here, I was hoping for a double clear. She is a very fast horse, she jumped amazingly, but she is also a very careful horse.

"This is a dream, really. It is quite breathtaking how the horse performed, and the crowd really helped lift us as well. I never expected to win."

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