Swail on the money in Kentucky

  • 28 April 2024, 19:01

Conor Swail and Casturano landed the $225,000 Kentucky Invitational four-star Grand Prix overnight in a fantastic result for Ireland, with the Charlotte Jacobs-ridden Irish Sport Horse, Rincoola Milsean also on the podium.

After navigating one of six opening-round clear efforts, Swail was imperious in the jump-off to take the win with a lightning quick clear round in 40.96 seconds.

Egypt’s Nigel Nassar finished runner-up with Igor Van De Wittemoere in 41.48 seconds while the Harold McGahern-bred Rincoola Milsean (ISH) was double clear in 42.39 seconds to finish third with American rider Jacobs.

Mikey Pender and Hughes Horse Stud combined for another second impressive victory in the space of a week, after Irish Sport Horse HHS Cornetta took the honours in a two-star 1.45m two-round Longines ranking Grand Prix in Chepstow today.

Pender and the nine-year-old mare, bred by Marion Hughes and owned by Bravo Hughes, looked very good in posting a clear round in a quick time and that speed across the ground was significant in the jump-off as the pair proved too strong for the dozen remaining combinations.

A time of 36.32 seconds ensured a comfortable triumph, with home riders William Whitaker and Lauren Caroline his nearest challengers.

Mark McAuley posted two brilliant five-star top three finishes in Fontainebleu over the weekend, with both classes being won by the brilliant German horseman, Daniel Deusser.

The €120,000 against-the-clock 1.55m class attracted a field that was jam-packed with the world’s elite. McAuley and the Irish Sport Horse GRS Lady Amaro, who was bred at Garryrichard Stud by Denis Hickey and is owned by SC McAuley Equestrian, muscled themselves into third with a stunning clear round in a time of 68.90 seconds. That earned €18,000 of the prize fund, but it was Daniel Deusser leading a German 1-2.

Remarkably, the Olympic medallist was just fourth of into the ring on Killer Queen VDM but their time of 66.42 could not be improved upon. Kendra Claricia Brinkop and Do It Easy took the runner-up berth.

McAuley registered another podium finish in the five-star 1.55m two-round class on Saturday, this time in partnership with Destinee De Vains.

The 11-year-old Destinee De Vains made light work of the 15 jumping efforts in the opening round, one of only three horses to do so and McAuley knew what was required with Deusser and Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z top of the tree on a time of 48.14 seconds from round 2 and Colombia’s Rene Lopez Lizarazo, riding Londina, second in 48.85.

In the end, the Louth man ensured a high finish with another double clear, a time of 51.83 cementing €9,000 for the podium position.

It was a case of close, but no cigar for Denis Lynch, following his double five-star glory of last week’s Longines Global Tour fixture in Mexico City.

Brooklyn Heights provided one of those triumphs and seemed certain to be in the mix for another at Fontainebleu today, but rubbed the penultimate obstacle after an otherwise perfect round in the €200,000 1.60m Grand Prix.

Only three combinations escaped blemishes and the class was won by Swiss champion Steve Guerdat and Dynamix de Béleheme. Lynch and Brooklyn Heights were one of the quickest four-faulters however, earning €11,000 for sixth place.

Michael G Duffy and Kyara Rock went close in a three-star 1.45m Grand Prix qualifier against the clock in Hagen. The Knockmore man and his talented nine-year-old partner, owned by Ashford Farm, held the lead for a lengthy time when posting a clear round in 63.55 seconds.

Despite being the seventh combination into the arena, they were in front until 44 rounds later, Carsten-Otto Nagel sent the German fans wild on GK Curacao to claim the victory.

Earlier in the week, Billy Twomey teamed up with his 16-year-old stallion Chat Botte ED to claim a significant share of the prize money by finishing third in the two-star 1.45m class at Chepstow. Only 5 of the 63 starters made it to the jump-off and Chat Botte recorded a double clear in a time of 37.61, finishing behind British riders George Whitaker on Peanut and Joseph Clayton on Gentlemen van het Veldhof.



HHS Cornetta (ISH) – 2015 Mare by Cornet Obolensky (BWP) out of HHS Acorado (ISH) by Acorado (HOLST). Breeder: Marion Hughes. Owner: Bravo Hughes Ltd. Rider: Michael Pender (IRL).


Rincoola Milsean (ISH) – 2013 gelding by Aldatus Z (OLD) out of Rincoola Abu (ISH)[TIH] by Cruising (ISH)[TIH]. Breeder: Harold McGahern, Co. Longford. Owner: North Star. Rider: Charlotte Jacobs (USA).


GRS Lady Amaro (ISH) – 2013 mare by Amaretto Darco (BWP) out of Legal Lady (TB) by Over The River (TB). Breeder: Denis Hickey, Co. Wexford. Owner: S.n.c McAuley. Rider: Mark McAuley (IRL).