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Cian O’Connor and Fermoy produce winning round at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala

Saturday, 23 March 2024
CSIO5* LLN Ocala 2024

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Cian O’Connor and Fermoy, winners of the $62,500 CSIO5* 1.50m LeMieux Winning Round at World Equestrian Center in Ocala. Photos © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


Edited press release from World Equestrian Center



Ireland’s Cian O’Connor emerged victorious in the $62,500 CSIO5* 1.50m LeMieux Winning Round held Friday, March 22, at World Equestrian Center – Ocala (WEC) in Ocala, FL.

The top-10 placed riders from the original starting field of 34 entries returned for an all-deciding second round. With the slate wiped clean and everyone starting back on zero, it was all to play for as Irish course designer Alan Wade set a track that allowed the horses to open up their gallop around the expansive WEC Grand Arena.

As only the second rider to return, O’Connor laid it on the line with a daring trip aboard Fermoy, a 10-year-old Oldenburg stallion (Chaccos’ Son x Light On) that he owns in partnership with Sarah Stoute of Keysoe International. The pair flew over the final fence before crossing the timers in 44.76 seconds to set the target for those who followed.

Two-time Canadian Olympian Tiffany Foster was the only rider to jump clear in both the opening round and the winning round. Aboard Kadans, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Grand Slam x Carosso VDL) that she began riding last year for owner Artisan Farms, Foster produced a tidy time of 45.78 seconds to move into second place.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Cian O’Connor and Fermoy.

As the last to go, 26-year-old Richard Vogel of Germany had the final say and while he certainly had the fastest time in 41 seconds flat, a rail down left him in third position riding Cydello, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Cascadello x Forsyth FRH) owned in partnership with Coleridge Equestrian LLC.

“We knew that 10 go back for the second round, so I took my time with Fermoy in the opening round,” noted O’Connor of the winning round format. “He jumped very nice. I picked up a time fault the first round but as everyone’s going back on zero, the only disadvantage was being early in the draw. That worked out okay, because I think a lot of the guys tried to go too quick in the second round. The fences were big enough that they ended up having a rail.”

Of Fermoy, recently acquired from Germany’s Maurice Tebbel, O’Connor said, “He’s a bit of a character. He’s a very easy horse to ride. He’s very brave, has huge scope, is really careful and fast. I’ve basically been trying to tame him and work with him over the last five months since I’ve had him. I was happy to have the opportunity to go against the clock and let him travel a little bit, and you can see that he answers the questions and nearly goes a foot higher. I couldn’t be happier with him.”

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Tiffany Foster and Kadans placed second.

With a win in the LeMieux Winning Round, O’Connor now turns his full attention to the Longines League of Nations™ on Saturday. Joined by teammates Daniel Coyle, Darragh Kenny, and Shane Sweetnam, O’Connor will ride Maurice for Ireland in the hopes of winning the Ocala leg of the new Longines League of Nations™ series.

“There’s always good teams and in nations’ cups you never know, but all the horses for Ireland didn’t jump the grand prix on Thursday,” said O’Connor of Team Ireland’s approach. “Some teams have used their horses already in the grand prix. Our strategy is to keep them fresh and have them in the best shape possible. We’re certainly trying our best. All four lads and our chef d’equipe, Michael Blake, are really serious about trying to get the job done tomorrow.”


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