Cian O’Connor had good reason to describe Good Luck as one of the “most talented” horses in the world after he and the gelding delivered one of only seven clear rounds in the €1.5m Furusiyya Nations Cup Final on Saturday.
The flawless performance for Ireland’s anchor rider ensured a fifth-place finish for the team that also featured Denis Lynch (All Star, 8flts), Greg Broderick (MHS going Global, 4flts), and Bertram Allen (Molly Malone V, 8flts).
Importantly, O’Connor’s clear round also delivered a powerful message as he awaits a date for an appeal by Horse Sport Ireland to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after he was impeded by a steward at the recent European Championships.
It led to Good Luck knocking a fence, which cost Ireland a place at the Olympics, but the rider is confident he and HSI have a “strong case” going to CAS.
On Saturday, however, the Meath-based rider’s focus was on his good fortune in finding Good Luck and his support by the horse’s owner Austrian/Canadian auto-parts industrialist Frank Stronach.
“I feel very fortunate to have found this great horse in Belgium last November after he was brought to my attention by my friend Abdel Said of Egypt.
“When I tried him, I thought he was the best I’d ever ridden, but he was green and unproven at top level. I offered the horse to various owners/investors, but it proved difficult to convince them. I was lucky that a door opened through Nikki Walker, a Canadian student of mine. Her grandfather, Frank Stronach, who also had bought my Olympic bronzemedal horse Blue Loyd post-
London, had faith that what I said about the horse was true.
“I put in the year’s work on the horse and now, thankfully, Mr Stronach has been rewarded for backing me.
O’Connor also said Saturday’s clear round further demonstrated that Good Luck was more than capable of doing likewise at the Europeans in Aachen, Germany, if he had not been impeded.
“The [appeal] process is underway and we have looked at various precedents in equestrian sports and indeed other sports and I think we have a very strong case,” said O’Connor.
“The performance in Barcelona cemented the belief that Good Luck is one of the most talented horses on the international circuit and I am certain that, without the interference that occurred in Aachen, he would have produced a clear round there too.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved