Swail breaks through with Spruce Meadows win

  • 13 June 2015, 15:01

AFTER several weeks of near misses, Ireland’s Conor Swail finally broke through with a win at the five-star show in Spruce Meadows last night (Friday).

The talented Co. Down rider, no stranger to wins at the Canadian venue, came agonisingly close to taking the top rosette on half a dozen occasions since the beginning of the month with second and third places, but last night made sure of victory with a stirring performance in the opening five-star jump-off class aboard the ten year-old mare Viva Colombia.

The pair won a FEI World Ranking competition in Palgrave, Ontario, this spring and also finished third in last week’s Encana Cup at Spruce Meadows.

Swail said of the horse: “I am just getting to get to know her and I think she is a very nice horse. The plan is for her to be a Grand Prix horse. Kirsten Coe rode her in a few big classes in Florida, so the mare has had that experience, but it is a new relationship. For me, I like to teach them to be able to go fast and run and win also, so it is nice to do the 1.45m and 1.50m competitions as well just to get to know the horse. She really is learning fast with me. She does what she is asked every time she comes out, so I am very pleased.”

The Irish rider saw off a challenge from Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts aboard Aragon van Schuttershof to claim last night’s 7,000 euro first prize.

On Saturday night, Swail and Viva Colombia followed with a fifth in the 1m50 Jump-Off at Spruce Meadows, with Belgium’s Francois Mathy and Polinska des Isles claiming first place.

On Sunday, the Co. Down rider finished with a fourth place in the CP Grand Prix, riding Grand Cru vd Vijf Eiken through two clear rounds, with the USA’s McLain Ward and Rothschild taking the Grand Prix trophy.

Conor Swail

Conor Swail