Two Irish in top three as Swail and McAuley impress in Horseware Ireland Florida Grand Prix
- 20 March 2022, 10:14
Ireland’s impressive run of results at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, USA continued last night (Saturday), as Co Down’s Conor Swail took runner-up spot and Louth’s Mark McAuley claimed third place in the $216,000 Horseware Ireland four-star Grand Prix.
Ten of the 45 starters made it into the second round jump-off and it looked like an Irish win was in store on St Patrick’s weekend as Conor Swail put in a blazing round when second last to go aboard Vital Chance De La Roque to take the lead, and at that stage McAuley was in second place with Jasco vd Bisschop. However US Olympic team gold and silver medalist Laura Kraut had other ideas and took home the top prize with her long-time partner, Confu, shaving over half-a-second off Swail’s leading time.
Swail, who is Ireland’s top-ranked rider at No.7 on the Longines World Rankings, was delighted with his mount Vital Chance De La Roque.
“I’m very pleased with how tonight went, and I think we are a great partnership,” stated Swail. “He’s quite a buzzy little chap; he is quite aggressive, but he uses it to his advantage because he is so small. He is small and mighty.”
The pair have had a successful season thus far, but Swail admitted he may left room for a quicker jump-off round.
“I wouldn’t have minded going a little better from fence one to two,” he described. “I was a little behind in some areas, but I thought I was quite tight back to the oxer and had a good shot to the last fence. The final fence I rode forward and wide to give him a little space and the best chance to jump it well.”
McAuley and Jasco VD Bisschop duplicated their podium finish in a four-star Grand Prix. The pair had previously taken second-place in the $216,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI4* during WEF week three.
“He hasn’t jumped much under the lights, but I think this circuit has been great for him,” said McAuley. “It felt almost easy to ride him this evening compared to when we competed in the evening on week three. No matter what I did as third to go tonight, I was always going to leave the door open with a field of competitors like these behind me.”
“In the end, maybe I should have taken some stupid risks and I would’ve won,” he added, “but Laura deserved her win tonight and I am very happy for her.”
Final Results: $216,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI4*
1. CONFU: 2007 Holsteiner gelding by Contact Me x Cambridge 8
LAURA KRAUT (USA), St. Bride’s Farm: 0/0/36.44
2. VITAL CHANCE DE LA ROQUE: 2009 Selle Francais gelding by Diamant De Semilly x Rivage Du Poncel
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Conor Swail: 0/0/37.10
3. JASCO VD BISSCHOP: 2009 BWP gelding by Dulf Van Den Bisschop x Krunch De Breve
MARK MCAULEY (IRL), SNC McAuley Equestrian: 0.0.37.55
4. GINGER-BLUE: 2011 KWPN mare by Plot Blue x Royal Bravour
BEN MAHER (GBR), Jane Forbes Clark: 0/0/37.63
5. AGANA VAN HET GERENDAL Z: 2011 Zangersheide stallion by Aganix Du Seigneur x Topas
LILLIE KEENAN (USA), Chansonette Farm LLC: 0/0/38.56
6. HALITA O: 2012 KWPN mare by Eldorado VD Zeshoek x Heartbreaker
PETRONELLA ANDERSSON (SWE), Stephex Stables: 0/0/38.75
7. VALDES Z: 2013 Zangersheide stallion by Vigo d’Arsouilles x Ircolando
EVAN COLUCCIO (USA), Hampton Green Farms LLC: 0/0/38.75
8. CORNWALL BH: 2008 Holsteiner stallion by Con Air x Cambridge
AMANDA DERBYSHIRE (GBR), Gochman Sport Horses LLC: 0/0/40.40
9. FARONA: 2010 KWPN mare by Baltic VDL x Lux Z
DANIEL COYLE (IRL), Ariel Grange: 0/4/36.35
10. MADIBA AG Z: 2012 Zangersheide mare by Mylord Carthago*hn x Corland
ASHLEY VOGEL (USA), Ashley Vogel: 0/4/43.95
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