CATHAL Daniels’ Rioghan Rua has been ruled out of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

A release from the Olympic Federation of Ireland this afternoon confirmed Daniels will be replaced by alternate rider Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue “due to a veterinary issue” for the 14-year-old Rioghan Rua.

Team mananger Sally Corscadden said: “Obviously this is really tough for Cathal and for Rioghan Rua’s owner and breeder Margaret Kinsella, particularly with it happening so close to the start of the competition. We did everything we could and gave the mare every chance to be ready but unfortunately we were forced to make a decision and of course horse welfare is always paramount for everyone. Austin now steps in and he is ready to go. We are very lucky to have someone of Austin’s calibre to step in, he is in great form, we still have a very strong team and are looking forward to the start of competition.”

Cathal Daniels and Rioghan Rua now revert to being the Reserve/P Alternate combination and can be called upon if required later in the competition – only of course if the veterinary report improves.

A statement on Austin O'Connor's Facebook said: "Being reserve is that awkward position where to get a run yourself, something has to go wrong for a fellow team member. Our commiserations go to Cathal, his owners and his team. We only hope that Austin and Salty can do their country proud. Riding at the Olympics is the ultimate honour and we couldn’t be prouder.”

The competition gets underway tomorrow (Friday) morning.

More information to follow as we receive it.