Ireland’s Cian O’Connor chalked up his first victory of the weekend at Spruce Meadows in Canada with a scorching finish in the Suncor Cup.
Riding the nine year-old bay gelding Callisto, on which the London Olympic Bronze medallist had scored a fourth place in the show’s opener on Thursday, O’Connor was first to go of ten riders in the Winning Round phase tonight, but stopped the clock at a very competitive 47.87 seconds.
Amongst the challengers for the 30,000 euro first prize were Switzerland’s London Olympic gold medallist Steve Guerdat with Albfuehrens Happiness and 2016 Olympic bronze medallist, Canada’s Eric Lamaze, riding Chacco Kid.
However, only Guerdat came close to catching O’Connor, settling for runner-up position just a third of a second off the winner’s pace. Lamaze took third, three quarters of a second behind the Irish rider.
Afterwards O’Connor said: “I had to go for it because I knew there were nine great riders following me into the arena. Callisto is a lovely horse with a big stride. I walked the course really well, so I knew where I could leave out strides and cut corners.”
O’Connor and Tipperary’s Greg Broderick will be the Irish contenders in the $2m Rolex CP International Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon at Canada’s five-star show.