Tag Archives: Conor Swail

Conor Swail and Vital Chance De La Roque Conquer $37k Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 3*

Conor Swail and Vital Chance De La Roque ©Natalie Suto for TIEC.

June 9, 2022 – The #5 ranked rider in the Longines FEI Jumping Rankings, Conor Swail (IRL), piloted Vital Chance De La Roque to a win in Thursday’s $37,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 3*, stopping the short-course timers in 30.18 seconds. Lauren Balcomb (AUS) and Verdini D’Houtveld Z, the 2011 Zangersheide gelding (Verdi TN x Caretino 2) owned by Lauren Balcomb and Sharn Wordley, scored reserve on a time of 30.99 seconds, while third place went to Luis Pedro Biraben (ARG) aboard Chacco Bumpy, the 2010 Oldenburg mare (Chacco-Blue x Toulon) owned in partnership with Patricio Miguel Madero Blasquez, on a short-course time of 31.75 seconds.

As a combination, Swail and the 2009 Selle Francais gelding (Diamant De Semilly x Rivage Du Poncel) owned by Mannon Farm are ranked fourth in the world, showing off their speed and technicality in Thursday’s course set by Bernardo Costa Cabral (POR).

“He had a great year last year,” Swail said of Vital Chance, “and he’s starting off very well this year. I started with him at the beginning of last year, so I’ve had him for about a year and a half now. He’s been amazing. He’s so quick and careful, and has a lot of clear rounds. The two of us have a good partnership; it’s fun!”

After what Swail described as a “friendly but difficult enough” first round, Swail walked into the jump-off up against a faster time than he would have liked, he acknowledged. “The jump-off was a bit too fast for my liking, to be honest, but I knew I was riding a fast horse. I’d watched a few go before me; Lauren was very fast and so was Luis, so I knew I just had to go as quick as I could, and it worked out well for me.”

Keeping up with his hot streak at the international levels, Swail will be seen competing all across the continent this summer, but has started off on a positive note in the Tryon Spring Series after previously enjoying a streak of international wins at TIEC in 2021. “I try and keep a couple horses on the East Coast and a couple on the West Coast, and travel back and forth,” he concluded.

For more info and results, visit www.Tryon.com.

Ireland Cruises in Canada

Andrew Bourns (IRL) riding Seatop Blue (FEI/Mackenzie Clark)

As the rain began to fall on course for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Canada, the Irish felt right at home.

Langley, British Columbia’s Thunderbird Show Park hosted six teams for the final leg of the North and Central America and Caribbean division of the Nations Cup series, but none could put enough pressure on the four-man squad of Daniel Coyle (Legacy), Shane Sweetnam (James Kann Cruz), Andrew Bourns, and Conor Swail (Count Me In). Led by Chef d’Equipe Michael Blake, the group finished on just five faults. It was a closer race for the remaining podium placings, as Mexico rallied for second (13 faults) ahead of Australia (22).

“You’ve got to be careful — for me anyway — in the Nations Cup not to get too complacent in the second round. We had a great first round, but a lot of other teams got stronger in the second round. We had to come back just as strong,” said Bourns.

Peter Holmes’ technical 1.60m track offered little breathing room, which led to rails falling throughout his winding course. As other teams struggled to crack the code to a clear round, Ireland quickly pulled ahead, finishing the first round with just four faults against them and two rails in hand. The group would only draw off in the second round, as Coyle improved upon a four-fault score to jump clear and Bourns produced one of just two double-clear efforts on the day aboard Seatop Blue. When Sweetnam added just a single time fault aboard his exciting 9-year-old James Kann Cruz, it clinched the win for the team. Team anchor and World No. 5 Swail did not even need to jump a second round with his partner from the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals, Count Me In, despite Mexico adding just 1 fault to their total in Round 2.

“Obviously we have got good depth, and I’m so lucky to have such a good bunch of people,” Blake said. “It’s very easy to drive a good car, and we’ve got one here.”

Ireland has made the podium in every Nations Cup event at the venue since 2017, including a 2018 victory. Swail and Coyle were on that squad and bookended their teammates, who delivered with meaningful mounts. James Kann Cruz excelled in the Irish Sport Horse gelding’s Nations Cup debut, while Bourns recorded his first Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ victory with a horse that his parents picked out as a foal.

“My father is here, so it’s a real family affair,” Bourns said. “I have to say, [Seatop Blue] is just as part of the family as I am.”

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Swail Secures Second Straight Longines Victory in Sacramento

Conor Swail (IRL) and Vital Chance de la Roque. (FEI/Julia B Photography)

Conor Swail (IRL) and his mount Vital Chance de la Roque are beginning to develop a winning reputation. After opening the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League season with a victory in Vancouver (CAN), the duo recorded a second straight World Cup victory in Sacramento (USA).

Swail and the enthusiastic 12-year-old gelding topped a thrilling four-horse jump-off in front of a packed crowd at the Murieta Equestrian Center. Using natural footspeed and agile turning, horse and rider seemed to read each other’s minds as they left out strides and shaved more than a second off Erynn Ballard (CAN) and Huberth B’s then-leading time. Swail and “Vinny” crossed the timers of Anderson Lima’s (MEX) shortened track in 36.12 seconds.

“He was wonderful here tonight,” Swail said of his mount, who has now won five grand prix contests since June. “He was probably one of the favourites coming in. I’m delighted that he’s living up to the reputation he’s making for himself.”

Ballard settled for second with her brand-new mount, an impressive feat considering she’d only begun riding the eye-catching bay two weeks ago; their time was 37.25 seconds. Her student Natalie Dean (CAN) and the talented Cocolina finished third as the only other double-clear performers on a time of 43.09 seconds.

“Erynn put up a tough enough round that I thought it was going to be another tough test,” Swail said, “but [my horse] handled himself extremely well.”

His World Cup results have now spanned two countries and two drastically different venues. In Vancouver, the duo navigated a spacious outdoor arena, while in Sacramento, they were met with a small, covered space. In both places, the pair delighted as Vinny complemented his efforts over the fences with playful bucking in between the fences, a trend Swail has come to both expect and respect.

“[Vancouver] was outside, and [course designer Peter Holmes (CAN)] built it quite like an indoor track I thought, but it’s still a covered arena here, and the crowd is up against you,” Swail said. “[My horse] is answering every question, and the crowd was awesome tonight. It’s wonderful having people back [in the stands]. We get a thrill out of it as well.”

Swail now holds a commanding lead in the North American League with 37 points. Ballard and Rowan Willis (AUS) sit second and third, respectively, both with 17 points. The North American League next heads east to Tryon (USA) on 30 October 2021.

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Swail Kicks Off North American League with Convincing Victory

Conor Swail (IRL) and Vital Chance de la Roque. (FEI/Quinn Saunders)

It was a triumphant return for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League as Conor Swail (IRL) jumped to victory in front of a packed crowd at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, BC (CAN) in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver.

A compact but competitive field took on Peter Holmes’ (CAN) 1.60m track with the aim of getting an early jump on points toward qualifying for next April’s Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Leipzig (GER). A total of 14 athletes from the NAL will punch their tickets to the Final, including seven east coast U.S. athletes, three west coast U.S. athletes, and two athletes apiece from Canada and Mexico.

A clear round did not materialise until more than halfway through the starting order, when world number 13, Kent Farrington (USA), executed Holmes’ test with ease. Three riders would join the former world number 1 for the shortened track. Farrington blazed the trail in the jump-off with a blisteringly quick round, but a rail at the final fence left the door open for another to overtake him.

Swail then put his focus on keeping the fences up, and he accomplished that mission despite losing a stirrup during the round. He crossed the timers in 38.98 seconds, and the remaining riders could not catch him. Swail’s student Vanessa Mannix (CAN) and Catinka came closest, finishing second as the only other double-clear performers (40.59 seconds), while Farrington ultimately settled for third (4/36.12).

“If Kent had been clear, I imagine he would have been the winner. He would have been hard to chase,” Swail said. “I did a little bit, after Kent, [because] he was very aggressive and so fast, thought that if I just dialed it back a notch, it would hopefully still be enough to get a win.”

Swail has been partnered with the 12-year-old “Vinny” for less than a year, but the barefoot bay gelding has quickly proven his merit. His World Cup win marked the fourth international grand prix victory for the pair since June 20. The duo also won the $75,000 CSI4*-W tbird Cup at the venue three days prior.

“I’m extremely proud [of my horse],” Swail said. “He’s had a wonderful week: He’s been first, second, and first. He jumped so well today, he deserved it for being so good.

“We’re off to a great start [in the North American League],” he added. “This is the first [qualifier]. We’re going to Sacramento and Las Vegas; we’re going to be on a little tour doing [World Cup events]. We’ll see how we’re going after that.”

Swail claims the early lead in the North American League standings with 17 points. As an Irish rider based in North America, he competes as an “extra” athlete. Mannix sits second with 14 points, two points ahead of Farrington, who earned 12 points. The North American League heads next to Sacramento (CAN) on 9 October 2021.

Results

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Conor Swail Conquers Tryon Summer 5 with Trio of Wins

Conor Swail and Koss Van Heiste ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – July 18, 2021 – Conor Swail (Wellington, FL) and Koss Van Heiste claimed a win in the $25,000 Tryon Resort Sunday Classic at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC) after clearing the jump off in 35.49 seconds, also grabbing reserve with Count Me In on a time of 36.2 seconds. It was a winning week for Swail, who dominated Saturday evening’s $73,000 Cleghorn Gun Club Grand Prix CSI 2* aboard Vital Chance de la Roque, as well as Friday’s $6,000 Speed Stake CSI 2* with Theo 160. Though Swail and Vital Chance de la Roque didn’t win the $37,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 2* Thursday, they did collect reserve honors to set themselves up for a win under the lights in Tryon Stadium.

Sunday’s $25,000 Tryon Resort Sunday Classic one-two finish was icing on the cake for Swail after a victorious week, and he walked into the ring aboard Count Me In, the 2007 Hanoverian gelding (Count Grannus x Sherlock Holmes), with only himself to beat. The Guilherme Jorge course design tested 24 entries in the first round, with only one pair challenging Swail’s two jump-off mounts: Harold Chopping (Southern Pines, NC) and Geronimo SCF, the 2011 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Veron x Mary Louise) owned by Diane Halpin, who earned third place on a time of 37.093.

Swail was first to test the jump-off track with Koss Van Heiste, the 2010 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Breemeersen Adorado x Contact Van de Heffinck) owned by Eadaoin Aine Ni Choileain, an experienced and longtime ride of his. They could have had an even faster round than their winning time, Swail admitted: “It wasn’t the round I wanted, to be honest. I wanted to be a little quicker than that! I gave Harold a little window there.” After Chopping finished his clear round with the leaderboard unchanged, however, Swail was free to ride Count Me In, a mount he’s been riding for only a few weeks, to a clear round and second place.

“It’s nice when you’re going [into the ring] last and you know that you’ve won the class anyway,” Swail admitted. “He’s a new horse to me, so I just didn’t over-ride him too much, and I had a nice round on him. We’re just getting to know each other a little better, and trying to build a good relationship and trust each other. That’s the first bigger class I’ve done on him, so I’m very pleased with him.”

For more info and results, visit www.Tryon.com.

Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili Capture $37k CCTV Agent 1.45 Jumpers CSI3*

Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – April 15, 2021 – The second week of the 2021 ESP Spring Series opened on the grass Derby Field at Equestrian Village, kicking off the first of two consecutive weeks of three-star competition. In Thursday afternoon’s feature class, Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili, owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five, LLC, jumped to the top of the podium, taking top honors in the $37,000 CCTV Agent 1.45m Jumpers CSI3*.

Conor Swail (IRL) and Gamble Top the $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m jumpers CSI3*

Earlier in the day, Ireland’s Conor Swail piloted Gamble, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Asta Torokvei, to a victory in the $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m jumpers CSI3*. A starting field of 65 entries challenged the two-phase format, with Swail posting a double-clear effort and stopping the clock in an impressive 30.80 seconds in the jump-off portion.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Swail and GK Coco Chanel Wins $134k Gary Sinise Foundation Jump for Our Heroes Grand Prix CSI 3*

Conor Swail and GK Coco Chanel ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – October 12, 2019 – Conor Swail (IRL) and GK Coco Chanel nailed their jump-off to a win in the $134,000 Gary Sinise Foundation Jump for Our Heroes Grand Prix CSI 3* presented by Lowe’s at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) at Tryon Resort, stopping the jump-off timers in 40.172 seconds. Luiz Francisco de Azevedo (BRA) and Collin, a 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Colandro x Amethist) owned by Santa Cecelia Stables LLC, claimed reserve on a jump-off performance of 39.116 seconds with four faults, while third-place honors went to Rowan Willis (AUS) and Lucinda Huddy and Rowan Willis’ Diablo VII, a 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Douglas x Cavalier), who put in a 40.452-second jump-off ride with four faults to secure the podium finish.

“I thought he did a very nice job; there were eight clean out of 50 so it was very well built,” Swail shared of the course designed by Michel Vaillancourt (CAN). “You needed a more experienced horse just to make sure and get the back rail. The beginning was tricky and then that double line caused enough trouble, and I suppose the combination was a little scopey since it was oxer to oxer.”

Swail continued, “The jump-off also was very difficult with a lot of sharp angles and everything was coming up late. It was very difficult to keep that smooth and I think that was probably why there weren’t a lot of clear rounds.”

Swail confessed that the 2008 Holsteiner gelding (Clarimo x Lerano 2) owned by Vanessa Mannix, who he has been working with for a couple years, is not the easiest horse to ride: “He has his own mind sometimes and can be a little difficult, but when he goes well it normally ends up being a win.” Swail elaborated, “We have learned to work together very well now at this stage and we have a good relationship. The consistency is growing all the time; there’s a lot of good results.

“This is maybe a week early, but to win this is fabulous,” admitted Swail, who hopes to continue his winning streak for next week’s $384,000 Gary Sinise Foundation Grand Prix CSI 5*. “I won the [Rolex Grand Prix CSI] 5* last year on Rubens LS [La Silla Triumph]. This horse [GK Coco Chanel] is very capable of winning again next week and it would be great to get the double win. I’m looking forward to it.

To learn more, visit www.Tryon.com.

Conor Swail and Rubens LS La Silla Triumph in $384k Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* at Tryon

Conor Swail and Rubens LS La Silla. Photo Credit ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – October 20, 2018 – Conor Swail (IRL) and Rubens LS La Silla dazzled in the $384,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*, which set the stage as the most competitive Saturday Night Lights class of the 2018 season at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Swail and Rubens LS La Silla, a 2006 La Silla Stallion (Rebozo Ls La Silla x Cash) owned by Rose Hill Farm, flew through jump-off timers in a quick 39.804 seconds.

Subsequently, Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu, a 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Silverstone x Matterhorn) owned by Skara Glen Stables and Whipstick Farm, placed second with a time of 42.076 seconds, and with eight added faults in the jump-off. Margie Engle (USA) and Royce, a 2004 Oldenburg stallion (Cafe Au Lait x Grandilot) owned by Gladewinds Partners LLC, took third place earning a time of 42.076 seconds and with twelve faults added to their second-round time.

Only three riders returned to the short-course, designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA), and Swail maintained the pair’s stronghold on the lead. The duo was the first to go clear and Swail noted his plan going into the first round. “My horse has had a great year so far and he was coming in here with a lot of confidence. I thought that the time was going to be a little bit of an issue for me, but thankfully I squeezed just inside it.”

Swail continued, “It started off a little scratchy for us at the start. I think it was because we haven’t competed in five weeks. The second half of the round he jumped beautifully. We squeezed just inside the time, but thankfully there weren’t many more in the jump-off.”

Trailing behind Swail was fellow Irishman Paul O’Shea, who scored another second-place finish aboard Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu, after coming off a podium placing in last weekend’s Grand Prix CSI 3*. “I saw Conor go on the screen,” explained O’Shea, “and he didn’t look really fast, but he was really fast and is always really fast, so that didn’t tell me much, really. My horse has been jumping really well this year and we have been competing in Nation’s Cups all year. He won the Grand Prix here exactly a year ago and that was the last time we went this fast. He’s had a great year and it’s nice to finish with a result like this.”

Much like Swail’s mount, Engle noted that third place mount Royce is also coming off of a bit of down time. Despite this, the stallion remained swift and competitive, landing on the podium with promising results. “Royce felt great,” stated Engle. “In the first round he jumped amazingly. He was way up and over everything, and I think it look a little bit out of him. It was his first time back under the lights in a while. I think I got a little hungry. He’s been second like the last five or six Grand Prixs I’ve been in, so I took a little maybe too much of a shot at the third fence at the vertical. That one he rubbed light and then after that I think he just kind of emptied out. The first round he felt amazing and right on game.”

All three competitors echoed their gratitude toward their mounts, elaborating on the fact that each will get a week off as they plan out their next stops on their calendars. Swail concluded, “My two guys that I have here are heading over to have a week off next week, then they are heading to Lexington and then up to Toronto. After that, we will go to Florida and that wraps up the year.”

For more information, please visit www.Tryon.com.

Swail Sweeps Up a Longines Win at Langley

Photo: Conor Swail and Flower (FEI/Rebecca Berry)

Ireland’s Conor Swail and Flower did nothing but win at the Thunderbird Show Park, as the pair completed the sweep by topping the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Langley, kicking off the west coast sub league of the series.

Although declared for the east coast sub league, Swail arrived on the west coast, hungry for valuable ranking points, and the Irish rider came away with the lion’s share of those by proving fastest in a seven-horse jump-off designed by fellow Irishman Alan Wade. Christopher Surbey (CAN) and new mount Daylight VDL finished second, and Jamie Barge (USA) and Luebbo were third. Earlier in the week, Swail and his 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare also won the Maui Jim Welcome Stake and the Steel-Craft Door Products Cup.

“I just continued with the same process that we came here with. It was working very well, so there was no need to try to change too much. My mare was absolutely outstanding, and it was really good to finish it off with the win.” — Conor Swail (IRL)

Last to go in the jump-off, Swail had only Surbey to catch, and a loose gallop up the first three fences left him with room to spare down the final line. Swail and Flower ended up comfortable winners; they were nearly four seconds faster that the runners up.

“I knew the time was easily attainable,” Swail explained. “[Flower] is very good at running and jumping, so I let her run and jump the first few jumps. I didn’t take any major risks and just knew that, with the way she was jumping, she would leave the jumps up as long as I didn’t make any mistakes.”

The North American League continues with a return to the east, with the qualifier in North Salem (NY) on Sunday 17 September 2017.

Conor Swail (IRL): “It’s an early relationship that I have with [Flower]. She is a little unique. She can be quite difficult to ride at times. She’s very spooky and can see stuff that’s not there. She has an extremely funny character, but when she goes into the ring, she’s not spooky at all. She’s dead brave and very careful. I’ve been trying to level out all those situations and make her trust me as much as we can. It’s getting much more consistent. We’ve won a lot since I got her in early January. I feel now that I’m starting to get all the pieces in the right places consistently.”

Christopher Surbey (CAN): “For me, my horse is not as naturally quick as Conor’s horse. He has a really big stride, but he’s a bit slower moving. I had a plan where I could leave stride out here or there. I don’t have much experience with this particular horse. My goal was to be clear and as quick as I could, but I left a lot on the table.”

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Conor Swail and Cenzo Win $35k 1.45m Horseware Ireland Opener CSI 5* at Tryon Fall V

Conor Swail and Cenzo. Photo ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – October 19, 2016 – Conor Swail (IRL) and Cenzo narrowly edged fellow Irishman Shane Sweetnam and Cornwall for the win in the $35,000 1.45m Horseware® Ireland Opener CSI 5* to begin the week of international competition during Tryon Fall V at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Swail and Cenzo made quick work of the jump-off track as the last pair to enter the George H. Morris Arena, securing a time of 35.056 seconds. Sweetnam (IRL) and Cornwall crossed through the timers in 35.582 seconds for second place honors, while Kent Farrington (USA) and Willow earned third with a time of 35.596 seconds.

In Swail’s first appearance at TIEC this season, the veteran Irish rider guided Cenzo, a 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Harley VDL x Cavalier) owned by Ilan Ferder & Tal Milstein to first place in the class, which featured a strong count of 50 entries. The pair drew late in the order and capitalized on their additional time to observe the other 14 combinations qualified to test the jump-off track set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA). Seventeen original pairs qualified for the jump-off round while three combinations decided to voluntarily withdraw before the start.

“I thought that it was a nice course for the first day and there were a few questions there. It was certainly a careful course. The jump-off ended up quite fast,” explained Swail. “I went last so I was able to watch how everything had gone and unfolded in front of me.”

“Basically, when I went in I knew that my horse was going to have to go very fast and do everything well. Thankfully today, that’s how it worked out for us,” he added, commenting on his strategy for the short course, which saw the top four combinations finish less than seven-tenths of a second within his winning time.

Swail has established a successful relationship with the gelding throughout the year, as he took over the ride this past winter season and has placed in numerous FEI competitions, garnering top five finishes in Wellington, FL, Coapexpan, Mexico, Spruce Meadows, Canada, and St. Lô, France.

“I started riding him in Florida at the start of the year and he’s owned by Ilan Ferder,” he elaborated. “He’s a very good jumper but can be a little bit difficult to ride. He’s brave and scopey though. We’ve had a reasonably successful year with him and it’s nice to finish up feeling like we’re progressing well.”

Cenzo is still young and is gaining valuable experience with Swail piloting from the irons, but looks to be a strong mount for the future. His adjustability stands out as a quality that will be essential to his development in international competition next season.

“His strengths are that he is careful and has a big step, but also has a short step as well. Equally, when we need to balance and put in that step he does it quickly and whenever we need to leave a stride out he does that quickly. I think with those attributes it makes him a fast horse,” noted Swail.

Swail will compete two horses this week in the highly anticipated FEI CSI 5* at the venue and feels the “luck of the Irish” may be playing in his favor for the remainder of the week.

“From what I see so far this is an amazing facility. There’s a lot of space to ride your horse with beautiful stables and a good arena. For me, it’s great that I started with a winning round here,” he smiled. “I do believe that I have lucky shows and unlucky shows. The way that this is starting off, it looks like it’s going to be a good one.”

For more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) and surrounding amenities, please visit www.tryon.com.