Conor Swail & Count Me In. Photo © Sportfot.
Victory was sweet for Count Me In and Ireland’s Conor Swail in the CHF216,000 MARS Equestrian™ CSI4* Grand Prix, the featured event on the expansive grass derby field at Equestrian Village during the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) Week 4 on Saturday in Wellington, FL.
The pressure was on for Swail riding Count Me In, a 2007 Hanoverian gelding (Count Grannus x Sherlock Holmes) owned by Sandy Lupton & Mannon Farm. The first to crack the code on the opening round track designed by Anderson Lima (BRA), Swail was the trailblazer again in a five-horse jump-off.
“I’m lucky to have Crosby,” said Swail, currently ranked fifth in the world on the FEI rankings. “He’s a very fast horse. I was trying to give it a good go and put the other riders under enough pressure and hope that they would make mistakes. It was a tough track but fair I thought. I have an amazing horse and I hope his good form continues. This was our first time out this year and I must say I thought he felt fabulous.”
Ruyle, Langmeier Score Wins in Helgstrand Jewellery CSI2*
WEF 4 has welcomed the return of Helgstrand Jewellery CSI2* competition on the derby field at Equestrian Village. The CHF37,000 Helgstrand Jewellery CSI2* 1.45m Grand Prix Qualifier highlighted the action on Friday with a win for Jacqueline Ruyle (USA) riding Cyramo. She piloted the 2011 Zangersheide mare (Clarimo x Vigo D Arsouilles Stx) to victory from a competitive 15-horse jump-off.
Ruyle was thrilled with her mare’s massive efforts, saying, “Everything was very spread out: a gallop to two, the combination off a tight turn which we are pretty good at, and a long gallop to three and four. It rode great and she tried so hard. I’ve had her a while – since she was seven and she’s thirteen now – so we’ve had a long time to build a strong partnership.” They bumped Ireland’s Francis Derwin, riding Intuitive for owner Eve Jobs, to second.
After a third-place finish on Friday with Chadina for Rafferty Farm, Mckayla Langmeier (USA) came back on top in Saturday’s CHF10,000 Helgstrand Jewellery CIS2* 1.40m Speed. In another jump-off that mandated impressive speed from seventeen qualifiers, Langmeier and Jiselle NS, a 2014 Dutch Warmblood mare (Balou du Rouet x Voltaire) flew to the win for owner Linda Langmeier.