First round error keeps O’Connor out of the hunt in Olympia grand prix

Success eluded Cian O’Connor in London Olympia’s two feature classes at the weekend, following a lucrative visit to the festive showcase.

Earlier in the week, O’Connor had taken a brace with Splendor, a horse he only returned to riding in the last fortnight, having sold him two years ago to Egyptian pupil Ahmed Tolba. In last night’s grand prix, a single first round error kept the Olympic bronze medalist and the 13-year-old gelding out of the battle for major money, which saw Germany’s Marcus Ehning (Sabrina) the victor.

O’Connor knew Saturday’s World Cup was a step up in class for the relatively-inexperienced Ulano and so it proved, with the Meath-based rider among two of the first three riders to tackle the course who retired. Dutch Olympic team silver medalist Marc Houtzager, on Sterrehof’s Tamino, came out best in an 8-horse jump-off, to earn his first World Cup win.

O’Connor came close to achieving a hat-trick on Saturday in a 1.60m jump-off contest, but his 34.22 seconds on ISHD Dual Star in a 10 horse jump-off was bettered by Houtzager on Sterrehof’s Uppity, the pair crossing the line just seven-hundredths of a seconds faster.

The Snowman Stakes, an accumulator competition where riders score points for jumping each fence, was won by Frenchman Roger Yves Bost, with Guy Williams second and Ben Maher third.

Cheshire teenager Emily Ward completed a notable double when she landed the JJ Junior Jumping Stakes.

The 13-year-old became the youngest winner of the Team Murka and World Class Programme Under-23 British Championship earlier this week, and she delivered another outstanding performance.

Riding King Mac, Ward clocked a jump-off time of 25.48 seconds to triumph by almost two seconds from Jessica Mendoza and Tixylix, while Harry Charles – Peter Charles’ son – finished third with Murka’s Moneymaker III.


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