Olympic Equestrian Final: O’Connor jumps to top 15

Austin O'Connor riding Colorado Blue during the eventing cross country team and individual session in Tokyo. Credit: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile. Photo provided by Horse Sport Ireland.

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Team Ireland had one sole representative left in the Eventing Individual Jumping Final. Austin O’Connor riding Colorado Blue came into the final in 18th place

O’Connor and his team took part in the Eventing Team final this morning in which the team finished eighth. To read more about it, click here.

Colorado Blue was the only Irish horse remaining after finishing 18th in qualification. The 2009 gelding and his rider replaced Cathal Daniels and Rioghan Rua early in the competition due to veterinary reasons.

Coming into this new event in the Equestrian Park in Tokyo, they had accumulated 42 fault points. They were not expected to challenge for the podium but could improve their score to finish in the top 15.

The new course in Tokyo had a 60 second time limit over the 375m sand track with tough fences to jump. Knocking a fence would cause a 4 point penalty and any second over 60 would lead to a 0.4 point penalty.

After finishing 18th, O’Connor would ride eight after USA’s Philip Dutton on a horse called Z.

Colorado Blue made a brilliant run only knocking one fence on a triple jump that stumped a lot of previous horses. The fault on 5B would lead to their only penalty in a great run.

Colorado Blue also became the first horse of the final to complete the course in 60 seconds. This put him and his rider in first place with a total score of 46.00.

The two managed to remain in first place after six more horses came and went. France’s Karem Florent Laghouag riding Triton Fontaine narrowly ousted the Irish from the top of the podium with a score of 45.20.

As the competition went on, the best well-rounded horses and their riders gave their attempts. O’ Connor slowly slipped down the rankings but had still left his impression on the tournament.

Germany’s Julia Krajewski riding Amande de B’Neville won gold with a score of 26.00. Team GB’s Tom McEwen on Toledode Kerser got silver while Australia’s Andrew Hoy on Vassily de Lassos got bronze.

The 45-year-old O’Connor from Mallow ended the Olympic final in 13th place, with the country being proud of him and his horses achievement.

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