FOLLOWING a consistent performance in the qualifiers, Cian O’Connor saved the best for last as he led the victory lap in the 1.55m Grand Prix CSI3* with Sue Magnier’s talented stallion Taj Mahal last Saturday.

Of the 57 combinations, only eight booked their place and just two double clears were delivered.

Halfway down the jump-off contenders, Kendra Claricia Brinkop and Nector vd Bisschop produced the first double clear in a time of 41.58 which ultimately was enough for second place. America’s Laura Kraut and Confu delivered a very fast round, but with one on the ground in 37.92, had to settle for third place.

O’Connor’s cool calm approach was clear to see as he took to the course with the nine-year-old stallion Taj Mahal and he answered all the questions coming home clear with two seconds faster in hand in a time of 39.47 to seal the win.

Speaking after the win, O’Connor said: “I was not expecting a win today. Taj Mahal is still only nine years old. It is his first three-star Grand Prix and it’s under lights. I am so happy his previous rider Dieter Vermeiren got to see him win here. He made the horse and I was able to take him to the next level - great teamwork.”

On Wednesday, Bertram Allen took the runner-up place in the CSIYH seven-year-old class when he delivered a double clear with Karlsson in a time of 29.40 seconds. Allen returned to the line-up to claim the runner-up spot in the CSI2* 1.45m class on Friday. Riding Empoli de Champloue, he was less than a second off the winner Richard Vogel who crossed the line, clear in 35.88.

In the 1.35m, Ireland’s Ciaran Nallon slotted in fifth place with IIIonois, when they delivered a clear in 32.44.