Ireland’s Cian O’Connor and Good Luck produced two outstanding rounds to claim third place in the latest Longines FEI World Cup contest at the Stuttgart German Masters meeting this afternoon.

“He’s getting faster and more agile all the time in his jump-off rounds”, said O’Connor of his mount after holding the lead for much of the star-studded jump-off which featured no less than nineteen combinations.

Fourth to go, O’Connor shot to the top in the decider when coming home fast and clear in 45.03, but with fifteen riders still to come, it was going to be a long wait to see just how good that effort would prove.

Next-in Martin Fuchs of Switzerland almost toppled the Irish rider, missing by 0.07 of a second on Clooney 51, but none of the next seven contestants got to trouble the leader.

It was down to another Swiss rider, Steve Guerdat, who was 13th of the nineteen in the jump-off order, to finally come up with a better round, but only just, as he guided Bianca home 0.08 of a second quicker than O’Connor.

It was a short-lived lead, as Germany’s Christian Ahlmann (Taloubet Z) delighted the home spectators by coming home a staggering 2 seconds faster for what proved to be the decisive round.

There were still five to go in the marathon jump-off, including Bertram Allen and Hector van d’Abdijhoeve, but the top three placings were to remain unchanged. Allen started well but took down two late poles to finish in 16th overall, just inside the cut to take a single World Cup point.

“Good Luck jumped like a stag”, said O’Connor. “I’m so pleased with today’s result, especially to be on the podium behind the world’s best – Ahlmann and Guerdat.”

Mike Dunne

Longines FEI World Cup Grand Prix of Stuttgart

1. Taloubet Z/ Christian Ahlmann (GER) 0/0 42.85
2. Bianca/Steve Guerdat (SUI) 0/0 44.95
3. Good Luck/Cian O’Connor (IRE) 0/0 45.03
4. Clooney 51/Martin Fuchs (SUI) 0/0 45.10
5. Goja/Janne Friederike Meyer (GER) 0/0 45.34