O’Connor completes Grand Prix Bank Holiday Double
Gain/Alltech Autumn Grand Prix at Killossery. Riding the nine-year-old Salito sired gelding Saphir, he crossed the line almost three seconds ahead of his closest rival to claim the winner’s share of the €3,000 in the Ringwood Construction and Goodwin’s Saddlery sponsored class.
This was the second victory for O’Connor as he had also led the victory lap the day before in Portmore Equestrian with Quick Shine. The double of wins now places O’Connor top of the overall leader board on 30 points.
Saphir is no stranger to this level of competition having competed to CSI 3* level with O’Connor and his owner Nicola Walker. Prior to this, he was campaigned by Shane Carey on the international circuit.
First to go O’Connor’s student Emily Shorte, set the bar high with CoCo II as she crossed the line with nothing to add in 40.65 seconds, which later saw her slot into sixth place. Although Shorte laid down the gauntlet, her lead was short-lived as O’Connor’s American native student Lillie Keenan took the lead. Riding Super Sox, Keenan’s tight turn back to the fourth oxer saw her up on target to cross the line in 37.66.
Triple handed in the jump-off, O’Connor went first with Quick Shine. A steady clear in the time of 40.65 proved good enough for eventual fifth. Returning with his second mount, the eight-year-old Chansonette Farm owned gelding Mercury, O’Connor proved out of luck when faulting early in the course on this occasion.
Matt Garrigan’s decision to take the more cautious lines early in the course with MHS Scala paid off as he crossed the line with nothing to add in 40.13 for eventual fourth place.
No stranger to pressure, Cormac Hanley set off in a calculated pace with Captain Caruso. Similar to Keenan, Hanley opted to take the inside line to the fourth oxer. This along with a daring turn to the penultimate oxer saw him lower the time to beat to 34.63 seconds.
Second last to go, O’Connor knew what he needed to do to take the win. Setting off in a calculated pace with Saphir, he first made up time in the turn back from the vertical at three to the oxer. This, along with a tight turn to the double and then to the penultimate oxer saw him clock the winning time of 32.83 seconds, leaving Hanley to take second and Keenan into third.
Gain/Alltech Autumn Grand Prix League Killossery 26th October 2015 Result
Sponsored by Ringwood Construction and Goodwins Saddlery
1st Saphir (C O’Connor) 0/0 32.83
2nd Captain Caruso (C Hanley) 0/0 34.63
3rd Super Sox (Lillie Keenan) 0/0 37.66
4th MHS La Scala (M Garrigan) 0/0 40.13
5th Quick Shine (C O’Connor) 0/0 40.65
6th CoCo II (E Shorte) 0/0 43.41