By Catie Staszak for Thunderbird Show Park
Sunday was a good day to be named Nadal. Across the Atlantic, tennis legend Rafael Nadal won his fourth round match at the French Open; he seeks his 14th win in the tennis major.
At tbird, Conor Swail’s (IRL) Nadal Hero & DB won his second five-star event of the week; the 9-year-old chestnut stallion will likely jump his first five-star grand prix at next week’s Odlum Brown BC Open.
Swail and Nadal’s latest victory came in the $73,400 CSI5* Winning Round 1.50m. The uniquely formatted competition advances the top 10 combinations from an opening round of competition to a shortened course, in which the athletes return in reverse order of standing from the first round.
“We’ve had a good week. He’s jumped in two classes and he’s won both,” Swail said. “He’s very fast, and when you go faster, he goes higher. I get a great feeling, I must say. I’m very excited about him.”
Returning in the latter half of the winning round, Swail showed his competitors that his mount still had plenty left in the tank after topping Friday’s CSI5* Maui Jim 1.45m Speed. The duo blazed Peter Grant’s (CAN) shortened track, sweeping ahead of then-leader Daniel Coyle (IRL) by nearly four seconds (45.85 seconds).
No one would catch the pair, with Coyle and Oak Grove’s Carlyle settling for second (49.2). Langley native Brian Morton (CAN) finished third with Crusador Z; the pair finished the short track in an identical time of 49.2 seconds, but a slightly slower first round time decided the tiebreaker.
“I was fortunate enough to see a few horses going before me. Daniel’s round, I thought it was very, very neat, but I felt that my horse could do a little better,” Swail said.
Rhythm was the key to victory, with Swail starting out with purpose and opening up the gallop to the final fence.
“We started off with a very good rhythm that carried us through [fences] two and three,” Swail explained. “I added one more stride [to the penultimate fence], and he was very good to me, and then I made a good run down to the last one, and he jumped that perfectly.”
Swail and his mount have only been paired for a few months, and Sunday concluded just the fourth international show of their partnership. Swail has quickly learned that he has a cool competitor on his hands—one that’s ready to step up.
“He’s a stallion, but he’s a good guy in the stall. He’s not too cheeky, he doesn’t nip or try and be too naughty,” he said. “He’s very, very levelheaded and very nice to ride as well. He’s quite casual and relaxed.
“He’s doing the [CSIO5* division of the Odlum Brown BC Open] next week, and I think I might do the [$235,000 CSIO5* Longines Grand Prix] with him actually, because [my other horse, Count Me In] is doing the [$400,000 CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Canada],” Swail added. “So, I might just jump him in it to see how he handles it; that’s good education.”
Anya Bereznicki Makes Back-to-Back Wins in the MarBill Hill U25 1.40m
Anya Bereznicki (CAN) refuses to bring her “princess” mare Diazella out for more than two classes per competition.
Less has proven to be more.
Bereznicki, 18, and her 14-year-old Holsteiner mare won the two classes they contested at tbird’s Canadian Premier, capturing the $15,000 MarBill Hill U25 1.40m Sunday after winning Friday’s U25 speed contest. The longtime partners comfortably topped a four-horse jump-off, crossing the timers of the 1.40m shortened track in 35.55 seconds. Sam Walker (CAN) and Hermelien finished second (36.89), with Emmanuelle Greenberg (USA) and Claire de Lune M, third (46.29).
“I knew I had competition when Sam was clear, because that is a fantastic horse and rider,” Bereznicki said. “I just wanted to win again. I wanted to give my horse the best chance that she could to get over the fences because she will never let me down.”
Bereznicki has had a good example to follow at tbird, as the young professional has been training for the past year and a half under World No. 5 and tbird’s winningest rider Conor Swail (IRL).
“I have a lot of faith in everything that Conor tells me, because he is just such a breath of fresh air to anything I’ve ever been told before by anybody else,” Bereznicki said. “He gives me so much confidence, and if we make mistakes, we kind of laugh it off and move on, and it’s always a positive, positive thing. I’m so, so happy and so grateful to have his help with everything.”
Her gratitude extends to her horse, who, over the course of the last five years, has brought her from 1.20m to her first international classes.
“She’s just unbelievable. She’s my best friend and I don’t know what I would do with her,” Bereznicki said. “[She’s] getting older, and she’s kind of the princess in my life, so I only will do a maximum of two classes a week with her from now on.”
$73,400 CSI5* Winning Round 1.50m
Place / Horse / Rider / Nationality / Owner / Faults / Time
1. Nadal Hero & DB / Conor Swail / IRL / Conor Swail / 0/0 45.85
2. Oak Grove’s Carlyle / Daniel Coyle / IRL / Ariel Grange / 0/0 49.2
3. Crusador Z / Brian Morton / CAN / Spruce Meadows Ltd / 0/0 49.2
4. HH N-Joy / Quentin Judge / USA / Double H Farm / 0/0 49.43
5. Gigi Carmen / John Perez / COL / John Perez / 0/0 49.46
6. Cat Ninja / Jacqueline Steffens / CAN / Eye Candy Jumpers / 0/0 49.81
7. Contefina LVF / Ashlee Bond / ISR / Ashlee Bond / 0/4 45.89
8. El Conde / Nayel Nassar / EGY / Evergate Stables / 0/4 46.51
9. Chess / Nick Dello Joio / USA / Wembley Farms Inc. / 0/4 50.98
10. Enzo / Kyle King / USA / Seabright Investment Consultants Ltd. / 0/8 49.11
$15,000 MarBill Hill U25 1.40m
Place / Horse / Rider / Nationality / Owner / Faults / Time
1. Diazella / Anya Bereznicki / CAN / Anya Bereznicki / 0/0 35.55
2. Hermelien / Sam Walker / CAN / Evergate Stables / 0/0 36.89
3. Claire de Lune M / Emmanuelle Greenberg / USA / Pumpkins Patch Farms II Inc / 0/0 46.29
4. Coco du Houlbec Z / Emily Fitzgerald / CAN / Emily Fitzgerald / 0/4 37.97
5. I. Zapo / Jarne Francken / USA / Greg Tomb / 0 84.92
6. C’Diam de Ste Anne / Jarne Francken / USA / Patti Kits / 4 80.58
7. VIP des Majuros / Carly Stevens / CAN / Grant & Susie Stevens / 4 80.93
8. Dento / Carly Stevens / CAN / Grant & Susie Stevens / 4 81.66
9. Vainqueur de Brekka / Anneke Power / USA / Anneke Power / 4 81.83
10. Barack / Reid Pankewicz / USA / Lynne Stephenson Beda Wachter / 4 83.74
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