By Catie Staszak for tbird
Langley, BC – Conor Swail (IRL) entered Thunderbird Show Park’s Fort Grand Prix Arena for the $37,200 CSIO5* Nations Welcome 1.50m aboard Theo 160 with one objective in mind.
“His job today was to win, and I know that if I do it right, he does it right, and we have a good chance,” Swail said. “Thankfully it worked out very well.”
It was a job well done. In a field of 52 entries, Swail and the small-but-mighty 10-year-old gelding added another tbird victory to their resumes, taking command just past the halfway mark of the speed competition and holding that position throughout. Fellow Irishman Daniel Coyle and Ivory TCS came close in the latter part of the start list but ultimately settled for second, two-tenths of a second behind the winner (66.50 seconds). Nayel Nassar (EGY) and the quick-footed El Conde finished third (66.86).
“I felt I wanted to put down quite a quick round, because there’s a lot of good riders here [this week], and [52 in this class],” Swail said.
Peter Holmes’ 1.50m speed track, the feature event of the Odlum Brown BC Open’s opening day of international competition, offered a friendly introduction to a week that will include the $235,000 CSIO5* Longines Grand Prix Friday, June 3 and culminate with the $400,000 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Canada on Sunday, June 5. With few related distances and plenty of room between the fences, riders had the option to warm-up their horses for the jumping to come or tighten up the turns and take more direct paths to the fences for a chance at a top check.
“I thought I got a very, very good turn back after the four-stride line (fences 8–9) to that vertical on the end,” Swail said. “It worked out well… He is such a cool little horse.”
Swail and Theo have won five international classes at tbird since August 2021, and in that period, Swail has risen to No. 5 on the prestigious Longines Jumping Rankings. According to JUMPR App, the pair averages just 1.3 faults at 1.50m and finishes in the top 10 68% of the time. They are slated to jump again in Friday’s $37,200 CSIO5* West Coast Cup 1.45m.
“Last year, we built him up, and he won a lot of 1.45m and 1.50m [classes]. We’re just continuing with that,” Swail said. “He’s getting easier to ride, and he’s such a good little winner at the 1.45m and 1.50m level. He is a huge part of my team and is very important to me.”
$37,200 CSIO5* Nations Welcome
Place / Horse / Rider / Team / Nationality / Owner / Faults / Time / Jump-Off Time
1. Theo 160 / Conor Swail / IRL / Conor Swail & Team Philippaerts / 0 66.32
2. Ivory TCS / Daniel Coyle / IRL / Ariel Grange / 0 66.50
3. El Conde / Nayel Nassar / EGY / Evergate Stables / 0 66.86
4. Emerson / Mario Deslauriers / CAN / Wishing Well Farm LLC / 0 67.47
5. Karlin van’t Vennehof / Lacey Gilbertson / USA / Seabrook LLC / 0 67.80
6. Costa Diam / Jordan Coyle / IRL / Elan Farm / 0 70.09
7. Wellington Grey Goose / Rowan Willis / AUS / Rowan Willis / 0 70.35
8. Gigi-Carmen / John Perez Bohm / COL / Jose Antonio Chedraui Eguia / 0 70.67
9. Uris de la Roque / Mario Deslauriers / CAN / Aram Ampagoumian LLC & Mario Deslauriers / 0 / 70.70
10. Bonita vh Keizershof Z / Ali Ramsay / CAN / Ramsay Equestrian, Inc. / 0 70.98
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