Co Down’s Conor Swail takes five-star win in Canada while Irish Under 18 & Under 14 teams finish second in Dutch Nations Cup’s

  • 1 June 2018, 11:03

Irish riders are in good form at the five-star Nations Cup show at Langley, British Columbia in Canada, where Co Down’s Conor Swail came out on top in Thursday’s $35,500 North West Rubber Cup.

Forty-six-year-old Swail, rode the 10-year-old Domino van de Valhoeve to victory after a 10 horse jump-off. Swail’s winning time was 35.77 seconds ahead of Eve Jobs (USA) in second with Venue d’Fees de Hazalles (37.36), while Karrie Rufer (USA) rounded of the podium with Georgie d’Auvray EC in 39 seconds flat. Ireland’s James Chawke finished sixth with Caruso coming on the back of a fifth place finish for the pair in Wednesday’s Welcome Class.

Conor Swail and Domino van de Valhoeve (Photo: Cara Grimshaw Photography/tbird)

“The horse is very fast and extremely careful, so I felt I could make the time up,” said Swail, who co-owns the horse with Vanessa Mannix (CAN). “[From fences] one to two, I was a little slower than I’d like, but I got a good roll-back to the next jump. I probably had one to two seconds on everyone to the last, because I galloped forward, and I didn’t stop. I got a mad flyer to the last, which I think really helped me win in the end.”

Swail has had the ride on the bay since November after scouting him at a horse show in Europe and is excited about the gelding’s potential. He plans to jump him in the Longines Grand Prix, which will be the horse’s first test in a five-star grand prix.

“He’s been exceptional since I’ve had him,” Swail explained. “He’s so careful. He’s a little bit tricky to ride, but he’s unbelievably careful. He will not touch a jump. I feel he has enough scope as well that we can, in time, jump championships or whatever’s in front of him. It’s super exciting to have him. With the right management, we can have a great partnership.”

Swail will ride longtime mount Rubens LS when he represents Ireland in the Nations Cup on Sunday as he continues to build up Domino van de Valhoeve’s confidence.

“It’s the rideability,” he said, describing Domino van de Valhoeve. “He’s quite spooky. When he looks at things, he really shifts in all directions. Then, the canter gets a little difficult. That obviously snowballs into us getting into places we shouldn’t be in. So, it’s all about trying to keep him as calm as we can and putting him in the right places that he doesn’t get too careful. It’s about him getting confidence and him doing enough rounds that are comfortable for him, so when we go to that higher level, he’s as comfortable as he can be.”

Impressive runner-up finishes for Irish Under 18’s and Under 14’s in Dutch Nations Cup’s

The Irish Junior (U18)  and Children On Horses (Under 14) Show Jumping teams, managed by James Kernan, have both finished joint second in their FEI Nations Cup competitions at Wierden in The Netherlands.

The Irish Under 18 team (pictured above) were in fifth place at the halfway stage on four faults after clear rounds from Kilkenny’s Jack Ryan with Cavalier Teaca (ISH), Wexford’s Harry Allen with Cheese W Z and a four fault score from Kildare’s Sean Monaghan with Simone. Ireland had a clear scorecard in the second round to move up to second after a clear round from Mayo’s Ciaran Nallon with Zaronda II, along with double clear rounds completed by Ryan and Allen.

Belgium took the winners trophy after finishing on a zero score while Britain shared second place with Ireland on four faults. Netherlands and Italy shared fourth place ahead of Germany in sixth, Norway in seventh and Denmark in eighth.

Just a few hours later, the Irish  Under 14 team (pictured above) also finished as joint runners-up in another FEI Nations Cup at the same venue.
The Irish team of Limerick’s Sarah Fitzgerald (Master Holiday (ISH)(TIH), Kilkenny’s Isobel Hughes Kennedy (ESI Carvalho (ISH), Armagh’s Lucy Morton (Delton) and Clare’s Rhys Williams (CES Cruson (ISH) finished on a two round total of 12 faults, level with Spain and The Netherlands. Belgium took the winners prize on 9 faults.

On Thursday, the all-girl Irish pony team of Orla Duffy, Katie Power, Lucy Shanahan and Ella Quigley, won the Pony (Under 16) Nations Cup in Wierden under the guidance of Gary Marshall.

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