Thermal, California, USA – November 06, 2021 – Show jumping action at the Desert International Horse Park continued on Saturday during the National Sunshine Series. In the Grand Prix Ring, the highlight event of day was the $36,600 Talus 1.45m CSI 3*, part of the international events presented by Marshall & Sterling. With quick and clear effort, it was once again Ireland’s Conor Swail (IRL) and Theo 160 who topped a three-horse jump-off to lead the lap of honor.
Alan Wade (IRL) set a careful first round track for the $36,600 Talus 1.45m CSI 3*, which featured a vertical-oxer double combination and an oxer-vertical-vertical triple combination before finishing over a bending line away from the gate. Only three athletes were able to complete the opening round without error and advance to the tiebreaker.
Canada’s Lisa Carlsen (CAN) was the first to return, putting on the pressure when she cleared the jump-off in 38.38 seconds aboard Susan Stevens’ Atena de L’Ermitage. Swail was not deterred though, still flying high from his victory on Friday in the $36,600 Sun Air Jets 1.50m CSI 3* with Vital Chance de La Roque.
This time the speedy Irishman was aboard the Team Philippaerts-owned Theo 160. With a quick rollback after the first line the pair eventually edged out Carlsen, clocking in at 37.77 seconds with all the rails intact. Sweden’s Mattias Ekeroth (SWE) was the last to go with his own Hayee M. With the pressure on to go fast for the win, the duo was unable to maintain a clear performance, lowering the height of two fences for 8 faults and the third place award. Swail would claim his second winning title of the week, while Carlsen took home the second place prize.
Theo 160, a 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding, is a relatively new mount for Swail, who just began riding him in February of 2021. After seeing him compete in Europe, Swail knew they would be a good match and approached the Philippaerts about a partnership. Theo 160 quickly showcased his talents, moving up from the 1.30m to the 1.45m with wins throughout the summer and fall in Tryon, North Carolina, and Langley, British Columbia. Swail now plans to compete with him during Sunday’s $101,000 Marshall & Sterling 1.55m CSI 3*.
Conor Swail – $36,600 Talus 1.45m CSI 3* Winner
On Theo 160:
“I got him in February and I own half with Nicola Philippaerts. He’s very inexperienced at this level. He started out doing a couple of 1.30m/1.35m classes with me. By the time he got to Tryon in June we started to do the 1.40m/1.45m. Everything I ask him to do he gives it a go and he tries. He’s brave and careful. He’s still a bit green; the rideability probably needs to improve a little bit, but in the meantime we’re able to jump around well. He’s won quite a few ranking classes over the last few months, so he’s a great addition for me.”
On his partnership with Theo 160:
“The Philippaerts owned him and I saw him in Europe. We talked a little bit about doing something together and I ended up buying half from them. He’s very catty and good blood – nice and light off of the ground, good technique. He’s everything you want in a good show jumper, so that’s what attracted me to him.”
On the jump-off:
“I thought he jumped very well. I got a nice rollback after two and really nice to the double of verticals. Maybe I could have done one less to the last oxer, but I just stayed on the eight strides to the second to last and stayed on the seven strides to the last. Thankfully I was just ahead, but I thought he jumped great.”
On his plans:
“He’s going to do the grand prix tomorrow. It’s a little big for him, but we’re here and it’s good education for him. He has next week off, so I think we’ll give it a go.”
Final Results – $36,600 Talus Prize CSI 3*
Place / Country / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults | R1 Time
1) Conor Swail (IRL) & Theo 160 / / Team Philippaerts / 0 | 0 | 37.77
2) Lisa Carlsen (CAN) & Atena de L’Ermitage / Susan Stevens / 0 | 0 | 38.38
3) Mattias Ekeroth (SWE) & Haydee M / Mattias Ekeroth LLC / 0 | 8 | 43.53
Source: Press Release from Desert International Horse Park
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Tori Bilas