Swail triumphs at Spruce Meadows with 132,000 Dollar Grand Prix win

  • 14 June 2013, 12:39

CO. DOWN’S Conor Swail tonight (Sunday) collected 132,000 dollars (100,000 euro) for a spectacular win in the Pan American Cup Grand Prix in Spruce Meadows, Canada, which also saw fellow Irish rider Cameron Hanley take third place for 60,000 dollars (45,000 euro).

Malahide-based Swail, riding Susan and Ariel Grange’s stallion Lansdowne, was one of just five international combinations to go clear in the first round from a starting field of 33, and in the jump-off seemed to have forfeited his chances of the big prize when having one pole down. However, after all five had jumped, no zero score appeared, so the 41 year-old Irishman took first place with the fastest time recorded.

Last man in for the show’s final competition was Mayo’s Cameron Hanley, riding Eleonore Paschoude and Yves Bouvier’s talented gelding Antello Z, and the pair seemed assured of a win until they dislodged a pole on the Rolex final fence, and had to settle for a third place behind Colombian runner-up Daniel Bluman and Sancha LS La Silla.

Afterwards Swail, who finished a close second because of a time fault in last week’s Queen Elizabeth Cup, and had many other top five places said: “I’ve had a great tournament here at Spruce Meadows and I’ve been knocking on the door so many times it’s a tremendous feeling to finally break through and win a Grand Prix. I’m delighted with the horse, who did such a great job for me here today.”

Earlier, Cork’s Shane Sweetnam, who finished 11th in the Grand Prix with Amaretto Darco, had a victory with Cyklon in the speed class, with Cameron Hanley taking second on Newton du Haut Bois.

Speaking from Canada tonight, Ireland’s show jumping Team manager Robert Splaine said: “It’s been terrific to hear the Irish national anthem played twice here today and I must congratulate Conor for his win this evening with Lansdowne. They are a wonderful combination and seem to mature more every time I see them.

“Cameron Hanley gave an excellent performance, and it’s a remarkable achievement to make such a comeback after his very serious two year injury lay-off. Shane Sweetnam has also had a good week, and all this is encouraging as our plan comes together for the year. We have an extremely challenging number of weeks ahead of us, with not only the Dublin Horse Show but also the European Show Jumping Championships in Denmark on our schedule.”

Earlier today at France’s three-star Vichy show, Ireland’s Niall Talbot claimed third place in the Grand Prix on Nicos de la Cense, with Morocco’s Abdelkebir Quaddar taking the trophy on Quickly de Kreisker.

In Falsterbo, Sweden, Capt. Michael Kelly won the Mercedes Ride and Drive with the Minister for Defence’s Irish Sport Horse Drumiller Lough.

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