Cian O’Connor’s Horse Kilkenny Has Been Withdrawn From Friday’s Team Showjumping Event At The Tokyo Olympics

Reserve rider Shane Sweetnam will be called in with Alejandro to replace O’Connor in Friday’s first round.

O’Connor earlier finished equal-seventh in the Jumping Final at Baji Koen tonight when collecting just a single time fault in the first round with Kilkenny. But he caused a huge sensation when leaving the arena with his blood-spattered horse.

Unknown to O’Connor the nine-year-old grey had a nosebleed halfway round the track, but still kept jumping without fault. “Being a grey horse it was very obvious. Sometimes in this heat and humidity horses have capillaries that can bleed and the vets checked him here and washed him off and he recovered very well and his heart-rate and everything was normal so that’s the good thing about these championships, there’s an onsite clinic and a full veterinary team. Obviously we’ll have to check the horse in the morning and make sure everything is OK but so far he looks fine”, he said.

There are strict rules in international showjumping about blood on a horse, but elimination is only incurred for blood in the mouth or on the horse’s side. A nosebleed is not considered serious enough for elimination.

Commenting on social media later, O’Connor added: “Unfortunately, he (Kilkenny) had a nose-bleed at the end of the competition but the vets checked him over and he seems fine. We’re allowed to continue to compete but for me the future is more important. I’m going to mind him.

“I’m going to help Bertram (Allen), Darragh (Kenny) and Shane (Sweetnam). Please God they can get a team medal and we will be back to fight another day. I’m just happy he’s in such good shape and he jumped well throughout the qualifier and the final. To finish seventh in an Olympic final is not so bad and we will be back to fight another day.”

It was another super-tough night of jumping with many of the favourites failing to make the cut into the six-horse jump-off against the clock.

Ireland’s Bertram Allen with Pacino Amiro and Darragh Kenny with Cartello were among them, Allen’s young horse hitting the first element of the triple combination at fence eight and the impressive-looking Mount Fuji wall three from home.

Kenny was disappointed when also collecting eight faults. “I thought I had a better chance going into it, the horse felt in great form. I made a little mistake and we paid for it. Out of the double I needed to help him a bit more and support him a bit more, the rest he jumped brilliant, obviously after I had that one down I was trying to be a quick four-faulter but he feels in good form and hopefully he’s ready for the team event. He jumped it easy, comfortably, felt great and I just needed to ride that one line a bit better”, he said.

A strong favourite for the Individual title, Great Britain’s Ben Maher grabbed gold with Explosion W ahead of Sweden’s Peder Fredricson and All In while The Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten took bronze with Beauville Z.

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