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O'Connor goes close as glory comes to Hanley

Cian O'Connor finished second in Saturday's exciting Puissance and the Irish national anthem was played yesterday when Cameron Hanley showed his composure to win the Young Horse Final.

However, the big bucks eluded the Irish in Rome, where Olympic champions Eric Lamaze and Hickstead scooped the Grand Prix honours in a thriller yesterday evening.

O'Connor enjoyed a series of good placings at the Italian fixture, including fourth with Temple Road and two fifth-placings with Splendor, but his highlight was the two-way fifth-round showdown for the Puissance honours.

With his new ride, On Ira, he faced the wall at 2.20m for the final time but his quiet approach didn't pay off and it fell, so it was left to 24-year-old Italian Emanuele Gaudiano to seal victory with one more spectacular clear from his stallion Italic de Salines.

Hanley threw down a strong challenge in the Young Horse Final with a great ride on the seven-year-old Ungaro de la Hot Couture and could not be caught.

Billy Twomey looked a strong prospect for the Grand Prix honours with Tinka's Serenade but an early fence down and an added time fault put paid to his chances. And with eight faults for both Shane Sweetnam (Rolette) and Shane Carey (Lancero), and nine for O'Connor (Temple Road) and Hanley (VDL Southwind), there were no Irish contenders in the 12-horse second-round jump-off.

Meanwhile at Tattersalls International Three-Day-Event in Fairyhouse yesterday, there was a British whitewash as William Fox-Pitt won the CCI 3-Star, 2-Star and 1-Star classes and his compatriots filled most of the runner-up placings.

Suzanne Jordan was best of the Irish when third in the 1-Star with Da Capo behind winner Fox-Pitt and Lady Voltaire and Louisa Lockwood (Applejack) in second.

And it was another British one-two in the 2-Star in which Fox-Pitt came out on top with Bay My Hero and New Zealand's Andrew Nicholson (Viscount George) was third. In the 3-Star, Jayne Doherty's The Only One led the Irish finishers when slotting into fourth behind Britain's Ruth Edge (Applejack), Oliver Townend (Imperial Master) and Fox-Pit (Oslo) first once again.

Irish Independent