A NEW investor has helped Cian O’Connor see off strong interest in his top Olympic prospects. Following a remarkable run of form in Florida this season, O’Connor is preparing his top horses, Maurice and Fermoy, for possible selection for the Irish show jumping team that will appear at the Paris Olympics this summer.

Over the past six weeks, Maurice, a 12-year-old bay gelding and Fermoy, a 10-year-old bay stallion, have been jumping extremely well - with Maurice coming second in a CSI5* Grand Prix and Fermoy coming fourth in a Saturday Night National Grand Prix too.

However, O’Connor came under pressure the last few weeks, with several interested parties wanting to buy the horses.

“It’s very difficult to turn down such offers,” he said. “The Irish team is very strong and so, to make the Olympic selection, having enough horse power and being match fit is so important.

“I’ve reached out to friend and client Sarah Stoute of Keysoe International, who has decided to invest into the horses with me for the Olympic Games, and ultimately secure them in the future for her daughter, Keira Stoute.”

Strong team

Cian, who has jumped in three Olympic finals to date and is Ireland’s only ever Olympic Equestrian medal winner (bronze at London 2012) said: “Together with the Magnier family, Pat Crean and Nikki Walker, I am very fortunate to already have such support and an incredible team of horses currently to ride.

“Wellington in Florida has gone very well so far, with all the horses achieving great results. Now with Keysoe International coming on board, means I can keep my team of horses together, which hopefully puts me in a stronger position to ultimately support and deliver for Team Ireland.”

Keysoe International is a past international competition centre that has plans to soon be redeveloped into a World class pro athlete development hub for show jumpers, eventers, dressage and Para dressage athletes; offering state of the art training facilities, media training studios, physiotherapy amenities and professional nutrition advice, along with other training aids.

Sarah Stoute, owner of Keysoe International, commented: “We are proud to support Cian by helping him keep Maurice and Fermoy for his Olympic quest and delighted to secure the future rides for Keira Stoute. These two great horses will be joining her strong string of horses particularly our stallions; KI Taj Mahal, KI Checkter and KI Festival Du Banney.

“Myself and my family have been working with Cian and his Karlswood team now for over a year and we are thrilled to be in a position to assist him and he has our full support and backing.”