By Mike Dunne

Cian O’Connor gave Irish fans the perfect start to this week’s international action at Dublin Horse Show when proving quickest in the Avery Crest Ski Chalets 1m45 Speed Stakes today on board Aramis 573.

Early in the contest it was another Irish rider, Billy Twomey, who held sway for a long spell with a time of 53.85 on Ardcolum Duke, before being emphatically overhauled by O’Connor who set the new target at 51.92. “We left out strides on a couple of lines which made all the difference”, he told We Live Horse. “It felt smooth and he was doing it all well within himself which should mean that it won’t have taken too much out of him for the rest of the week.”

It was a pace too hot for the remainder to match, with Bertram Allen coming closest on Quiet Easy IV to take second in 52.51. Greg Broderick had a fair stab at the lead as well with Zuidam, when, as second last to go, he slotted in just behind Allen in 52.68. Early leader Twomey’s effort proved good enough for fourth place, with Darragh Kenny making it a clean sweep of the top five places for Ireland with a time of 53.89 on DK Global van T Braunerthof.

While the early event was dominated by the Irish, in the day’s other international class, the Sport Ireland Classic, no Irish rider was in sight of the podium.

Italy’s Lorenzo De Luca took the contest with a double-clear in 44.76 on Irish-bred Limestone Grey, with Brazilian Marlon Modolo Zanotelli a second further back on Rock’N Roll Semilly.

Britain’s Ben Maher took third with Boomerang. Anthony Condon (Aristio), Bertram Allen (Romanov) and Shane Breen (Golden Hawk) all made the jump-off, with Condon finishing best of the home riders in eighth.