• 6 June 2014, 23:09

IRISH rider James Connor scored 65.320% with Casino’ Royal in the Grand Prix at the CDI3* show in San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy today (Friday), to clinch a World Equestrian Games (WEG) team dressage qualification for Ireland.  

With two Irish riders  already qualified, reigning national champion Roland Tong (Pompidou) and Dane Rawlins (Sydney), James’s result today means that Ireland can field a World Games dressage team for the first time since 2002. Connor could be spoiled for choice as he has also achieved one of the two qualification scores required with his other horse Shanandoah. The deadline for securing the second qualification score is Monday, July 21, 2014.  

Speaking from Italy this evening James said “I’m delighted with how Casino’ Royal went today considering he is only a nine-year-old.  There is much more to come from him in the future.”

Also competing in the Grand Prix class was Irish Olympian Anna Merveldt.  Anna placed 6th on 66.980% with Eva Zanella’s Vancouver on her first outing with the 12-yar-old gelding at this level thereby chalking up their first World Games qualification score.  The class was won by Italian rider Valentina Truppa and Fixdesign Eremo del Castegno on 75.46%.

Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K compete in the Grand Prix at Arnhem CDI3* show in the Netherlands tomorrow evening (Saturday, June 7, 2014) in a bid to add their name to the list of Irish dressage riders qualified for WEG in Normandy, France in August. 

James Connor (54) is from Dublin and left Ireland over thirty years ago, when there were virtually no opportunities for an aspiring international dressage rider. He represented Italy at the World Equestrian Games in Rome in 1998 and declared for Ireland in 2004.

Ireland's James Connor competing at San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy today.

Ireland’s James Connor competing at San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy today.