Langley, British Columbia, Canada – September 26, 2021 – Conor Swail (IRL) finished the Harvest Celebration at Thunderbird Show Park CSI4*-W the way he began it—with a win.
The Irish rider earned his third international victory of the week by topping the event’s feature class, the $150,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver CSI 4*-W, with the exciting Vital Chance de La Roque.
“I’m extremely proud [of my horse],” Swail (IRL) said. “He’s had a wonderful week. [He’s been] first, second and first. He jumped so well today, I suppose he deserved [the win] for being so good.”
Swail (IRL) and the 12-year-old Selle Français gelding, affectionately known as “Vinny,” also won the $75,000 Welcome CSI 4*-W on Thursday at tbird and finished second in Friday’s $75,000 tbird Cup. On Sunday, they added the week’s feature to their tally, the bay’s fourth international grand prix event since June 20. Swail’s student, Vanessa Mannix (CAN) finished second, with World No. 13 Kent Farrington (USA) taking third.
Farrington was first to navigate a clear round over Peter Holmes‘ (CAN) 1.60m track, the opening leg of the 2021–2022 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League. Next in the ring, Swail replicated his feat, before Rowan Willis (AUS) and Mannix joined them.
The jump-off was a blockbuster. First to go, Farrington (USA) set off with a blistering pace, but the final rail on course fell, leaving the accomplished pair with four faults.
“If Kent had been clear, I imagine he would have been the winner,” Swail (IRL) said. “It would have been a hard chase. I thought, because he was very aggressive and so fast, that if I just dialed it back a notch, hopefully it would still be enough to get the win.”
Swail (IRL) directly followed Farrington (USA) and became the first to produce a double-clear effort, despite losing his stirrup midway around the course. Willis could not replicate the feat, leaving the results down to Mannix. She and Catinka managed to be the only other combination to navigate the jump-off without fault, but they were a bit slower, settling for second (40.59 seconds).
“I could feel him a little more nervous [today],” Swail (IRL) said of his mount. “He had a bit more nervous energy in the warm-up and, in the ring, he was a little more aggressive than in the beginning of the week. But he knows where his legs and feet are, and he’s so careful and has so much quality.”
Swail (IRL) has only been partnered with “Vinny,” whom he owns in partnership with Adeline Hecart, since the beginning of the year. Now, he’s considering a run at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Leipzig, Germany, next April.
“I got him at the start of January, and I found him a little bit tricky in the beginning, but we’re really figuring each other out,” Swail said. “We seem to have found the right way to go. He’s such a wonderful horse, and his last five, six, seven shows have been exceptional.”
Final Results – $150,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup CSI 4* – W
1) Conor Swail (IRL) & Vital Chance de La Roque – 0 / 0 – 38.98
2) Vanessa Mannix (CAN) & Catinka 25 – 0 / 0 – 40.59
3) Kent Farrington (USA) & Austria 2 – 0 / 4 – 36.12
Source: Press Release by Catie Staszak / Catie Staszak Media forThunderbird Show Park
Photos: © Tbird / Quinn Saunders