Monday 20 November 2017

O'Connor aiming to mount challenge at Rio as rider seeks stable of winners

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

SHOW-JUMPING medallist Cian O'Connor is already on the hunt for a stable of horses to take him on the road to the next Olympics in Rio.

The 33-year-old has spoken of how it was a dream year after he landed one of Ireland's five Olympic medals in London when he scooped bronze on Blue Loyd 12.

It has only been a few short months since the Games but it's been straight back to work for the rider based at Karlswood Stables outside Ashbourne, Co Meath.

He has also squeezed in a history-making victory as he recently became the first non-Chinese competitor to land Beijing's World Cup competition.


"It has been a perfect year, it started off on January 1, 2012, as myself and Ruth got married on New Year's Eve. Things have gone according to plan," O'Connor said.

"It is one I'll never forget and I'm already looking forward to the road to Rio."

He said the win had been "all the more special" on the back of being stripped of his gold medal in Athens eight years ago after his horse tested positive for a banned sedative. O'Connor has always maintained his innocence and the International Equestrian Federation has never made a finding against him.

O'Connor's Olympic ride Blue Loyd 12 – which he owned along with Barbara and Charlie O'Reilly-Hyland – was recently sold to Austrian-Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach.

The rider and producer has already been busy looking for potential horses for Rio.

"You need to have a pool of horses to pick from," he said.

The rider, who will shortly travel to the famous UK Olympia Christmas Show, said he experienced a bit "of a down" period after the Olympics following all the hype.

However, he said show jumping was not like golf where players win multi-million euro endorsements but an Olympic medal "opens doors".

Irish Independent

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