Canadian Grand Prix victory for Ireland’s James Chawke while Conor Swail scores double of wins
- 27 May 2019, 10:14
Irish riders were in dominant form at the three-star Canadian show at Caledon Equestrian Park in Ontario at the weekend, where Laois-born James Chawke claimed victory in the $100,000 Grand Prix and also filled third place.
Of the 13 horses who made it into the jump-off, two were ridden by Chawke and he would take third spot with the 8-year-old gelding Grasshopper with a clear round in 48.94 seconds. Chawke still had one more shot at victory however, and took the necessary risks to stop the clock in a time of 43.04 with Skara Glen’s Presence to take the win.
“I went first on Grasshopper; he is only eight so I just wanted to be clear and put a little pressure on Jonathon [Millar, who finished as runner-up] and maybe he would make a mistake, which he didn’t,” said Chawke of his jump-off strategy. “Conor [Swail] had watched Jonathon for me and told me what I needed to do. Skara Glen’s Presence is 11 and more experienced so I went bit faster and, luckily, it was good enough to win.”
Making the win even more impressive, Chawke has only been paired with Skara Glen’s Presence for two weeks.
“This is only my fifth class with him, and my third FEI class,” said Chawke of the 11-year-old Canadian-bred Holsteiner gelding (Contendro x Nekton) owned by Skara Glen Stables and formerly ridden by Limerick’s Paul O’Shea. “He’s a very friendly and cheeky fellow in the stable. When it comes time to go in the ring, he knows his job and wants to do it. He’s careful and quick, and I just have to stay out of his way.”
“This is the first place I ever showed at when I came to Canada,” said Chawke, 31, who works alongside fellow Irishman, Conor Swail, and Canadian Team member, Vanessa Mannix. “It’s an incredible place. The facilities are fantastic, it has big rings, and everyone here is so nice and willing to do whatever you need.
“Thank you to the horse show and the sponsors, and to my sponsors and everyone involved in the win today,” concluded Chawke.
Chawke wasn’t the only Irishman in the winner’s circle. Co Down’s Swail had dominated earlier in the week, winning the $36,500 Open Welcome, presented by Horseware, on Thursday riding Koss van Heiste, a nine-year-old gelding owned by Eadaoin Collins.
In Saturday’s $40,000 Speed Class, Swail did the seemingly impossible, tying himself for victory with an identical time of 65.54 seconds riding Koss van Heiste and Pin Up de Hus Z.