In an impressive comeback today, Ireland’s Cian O’Connor delivered a convincing fourth place in the Wiesbaden Grand Prix, his first major competition after a six-week injury lay-off.

With his leading stallion, Good Luck, O’Connor delivered a foot perfect first round and joined the nine horse jump-off, showing no signs of strain following his groin injury incurred at the three-star show in Eschweiler, Germany in April.

Third to go in the jump-off, O’Connor again went clear and briefly held the lead, before being overtaken by eventual winner, Germany’s Holger Wulschner and Catch Me T.

Local rider Philip Rüping then slotted Messenger into the runner-up slot, and subsequently O’Connor had the pleasure of watching his American pupil Lillie Keenan shave a third of a second off his own time to snatch third place, leaving her mentor in fourth overall.

“I am delighted with how the horses went,” said O’Connor this evening. “Good Luck jumped outstandingly today in a competitive Grand Prix. It was a great weekend too for my student Lillie Keenan who won a ranking class, was runner up in three classes and third in the GP!”

The Wiesbaden result will also be of some relief to Irish team manager Rodrigo Pessoa, who was without O’Connor’s services at both La Baule and Rome Division One Nations Cups this season, and who was no doubt hoping the Meath rider would be fit for the points-scoring fixture at Rotterdam later this month.

“Obviously getting injured was a set back but I set myself targets to work towards and the aim was to be back in the saddle this week. Much thanks must go to all my team around me and of course (wife) Ruth for their support,” O’Connor said.

Jack Burns