Cian O’Connor and Good Luck travelled all the way to California this weekend, but return home with a third place pay cheque for $120,000 after jumping double clear in the AIG $1 Million Grand Prix.
Olympic medallist O’Connor from Co. Meath was up against a 55-strong field at the desert showgrounds at HITS Coachella, and was one of just six to make it through to the jump-off after his clear first round.
Drawn just third to jump, the Irish rider had to wait for almost two hours to find out who he would be up against, and then brought his 11 year-old stallion out as first to go in the jump-off.
A careful round stopped the clock at 43.986 seconds with zero faults, and though three of the riders following left a pole on the ground, it was the USA’s Mandy Porter who set the fastest time of 41.600 seconds on zero penalties to snatch the first prize of $350,000.
Second place tonight went to Canada’s Tamie Phillips and Cristar, who earned $200,000.
O’Connor said afterwards: “Good Luck is keeping up his consistent clear rounds, delivering two class rounds today. Going first to go I was perhaps too cautious and could have taken more chances but I’m pleased with the result, and of course the big cheque!
“Good Luck has seven days easy until the Ocala million dollar Grand Prix before he returns to Europe.”