Cian O’Connor and Good Luck score brilliant five-star Grand Prix victory in Poland
Team GAIN rider Cian O’Connor and the 11-year-old stallion Good Luck produced a stunning performance to win yesterday’s five-star Grand Prix at the Polish Nations Cup show in Sopot – just a week after O’Connor returned from a six week lay-off with a groin injury.
A tough first round course yielded just four clear rounds from the 50 starters. The top 25% went forward to the jump-off including the four clears, six riders on just a time fault, along with the three fastest four fault scores from the opening round.
O’Connor and Good Luck ensured they had the plum draw as last to go, after they produced the fastest clear of the opening round. Portuguese rider Luciana Diniz took the lead when second last to go with the chestnut mare Fit For Fun and stopped the clock clear in 48.77 seconds. However O’Connor and Good Luck knocked almost a second off the target, crossing the line in 47.59 to take the winners prize of almost €50,000. Luciana Diniz finished as runner-up while Dutchman Marc Houtzager came home in third aboard Sterrehof’s Calimero, with the only other double clear of the competition.
Speaking afterwards Cian O’Connor said:
“I’m over the moon. The horse is getting a little bit older now and is a lot more consistent. I saw the time was tight in the first round and came inside the vertical to the treble and that really helped. I didn’t see many others go in the jump-off but the lads, Bertram [Allen] and Michael Blake, were a great help and said to leave a stride out from fence one to two and I think that’s where I made up the time.
“I have of course been off for a few weeks and the whole team including Michael Kelly and Ross Mulholand deserve a lot of credit for the work they put in while I was injured. This is a great win for the team and especially for my owners Nicole Walker and Frank Stronach who have been such brilliant supporters of mine. This is a very important win as it now pre-qualifies us for all five-star Grand Prix’s for the next 12 months so big shows like Aachen or Dublin we don’t have to jump earlier at the week to qualify which is great.”