O'Connor rides to Fair Hill title

October 29, 2001|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

FAIR HILL - Olympic champion David O'Connor won his fifth U.S. Equestrian Team fall eventing championship with a penalty-free stadium jumping ride yesterday.

O'Connor, the Sydney Olympics individual gold medalist, finished with a three-phase score of 58.8 penalties after completing his ride fault-free on The Native.

It was the fourth outright title in the event for the rider from The Plains, Va. O'Connor also won in 1995 as the top American finisher behind Australian David Green.

Australian Phillip Dutton, the defending champion and two-time Olympic team gold medalist, was the event's last entry and entered the ring on Cayman Went with a score of 58.4 penalties.

He appeared to have the fault-free ride he needed to win his third Fair Hill title until his horse knocked down the rail at the last fence for five penalties and a score of 63.40.

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