Conor Swail takes podium finish in $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix on final weekend of Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida
- 1 April 2018, 09:40
Co Down’s Conor Swail and the 12-year-old stallion Rubens LS La Silla were the highest-placed Irish finishers in last night;s (Saturday) $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix at Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, taking third place overall.
Just six of the 40 starters managed to jump clear in the opening round, with Swail the sole Irish representative in the decider. Although lowering one fence in the jump-off, a time of 40.17 seconds saw Swail finish as the fastest four faulter to take third spot on the podium.
Rubens LS La Silla has been in Swail’s program since his student Vanessa Mannix bought him as a seven-year-old. Swail competed him in the winters of 2016 and 2017, but the horse was sold to the Hymowitz family of Rose Hill Farm last June, and Swail only got the ride again three weeks ago.
“We did the five-star two weeks ago, and then this was my second big show with him,” he said. “I’m very, very pleased with how quickly he has returned to top form. I’m really chuffed with how quickly he’s getting back into my program. It’s such a fabulous result to be third. This is the biggest week of WEF, so I’m thrilled with that.”
Victory on the night went to local rider Margie Engle of Wellington, Florida who was celebrating her 60th birthday. She partnered the 14-year-old stallion Royce to the fastest jump-off clear in 39.35 to finish comfortably ahead of Brazilian runner-up Luis Francisco de Azevedo with Comic who produced the only other clear round in 42.52.
The 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival, which has offered $9 million in prize money since it started in January, will conclude today with the $50,000 Wanderers Club two-star Grand Prix and $50,000 CP National Grand Prix.