Co Down’s Conor Swail claims victory in $138,600 California Grand Prix

  • 7 February 2022, 11:35

Ireland’s top-ranked Show Jumping rider Conor Swail continued his excellent run of form, when taking victory in Sunday’s three-star Grand Prix at Thermal, California in the USA.

Conor Swail (IRL) and Vital Chance De La Roque

Riding the 13-year-old gelding Vital Chance de la Roque, world No.9 Swail was one of 35 athletes to take on the first round course built by fellow Irishman Alan Wade. Swail used the most of his draw as last to go of the 10 combinations who made it through to the second round. He crossed the line clear in 36.53 seconds, which pushed Karrie Rufer (USA) and Mr. Europe into runner-up spot in a time of 36.72. Lisa Carlsen (CAN) completed the top three aboard Livestream 2 in 37.79.

Conor Swail (IRL) topped the podium in the $138,600 Sun Air Jets 1.55m Grand Prix CSI3*

Speaking about his winning mount, Vital Chance de la Roque, Swail said:

“He jumped amazing. I don’t need to keep saying how great he is. If you just read his results, that shows for himself. It was a nice win. We were last to go. The time was very hard to beat. Karrie [Rufer] put up a very fast time. But I did feel if I did what we just explained, I would maybe just make it. So, thankfully, today he had a great round.”

Swail also explained why he always gives a treat to his horses on entering and leaving the ring:

“I always try to give them something going in as well. I want them to feel comfortable going into the ring as well as coming out of it. It’s just something that I do where I make sure you’re past the in-gate and whoever I’m riding gets a little cookie before we start. I think it sort of helps them feel more relaxed when we come into the ring. It is the same when you finish and come out of the ring. They’re always looking for something, which is nice as well.”