IRELAND'S Olympic and European bronze medallist Cian O’Connor landed a podium finish in Saturday night’s five-star $384,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, USA.
Riding the 12-year-old gelding Clenur, who stands 18hh and is owned by Armin Himmelreich, O’Connor jumped clear in the opening round but finished just over the time allowed. However, just two of the 40 starters managed to jump clear inside the time, leaving O’Connor with third spot on the podium.
“He’s a very big horse to maneuver around,” O’Connor explained. “The big ring suits him. It’s only the fourth or fifth class that I’ve done with him here.
"He took a little bit of a wobble down the last line to the water tray vertical. I was clear then, and I just cantered it down. Maybe I could have been a little quicker coming to the third last (jump). I was just over the time, but I’m very happy with my check.”
Israel’s Daniel Bluman took the winner's prize with Ladriano Z after a jump-off against Switzerland’s Beat Mandli, who finished second with Dsarie. Both combinations jumped clear in the jump-off with Bluman a second faster of the two.
The Irish Sport Horse Luibanta BH finished fifth overall with Amanda Derbyshire (GBR).
The Winter Equestrian Festival continues until April 1st at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida, and offers more than $9 million in prize money.