By Catie Staszak for FEI/Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League
The top of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League has become a familiar place for Conor Swail (IRL). After winning the NAL’s opening leg in Sacramento (USA) with Vital Chance de la Roque, Swail led the victory lap again in Washington (USA), this time with his mount from the 2022 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Leipzig (GER), Count Me In.
Bernardo Costa Cabral (POR) set a technical track at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro (USA), which was hosting World Cup competition for the first time. But the quality of the field was strong, and nine combinations advanced to the shortened course. The lead would change hands quickly until Swail entered the ring. While Bluman and Moggre would come close, neither could catch the undisputed king of the NAL.
Swail’s winning time was 35.76 seconds, less than three-tenths of a second ahead of Bluman (36.00 seconds). Moggre checked in third at 36.74 seconds.
“[Count Me In] has really changed my career, Swail said. “He’s brought me to a lot of places I’d never been and has been very successful doing it. This year, I know he’s capable, and [returning to World Cup Finals] is something that I’m looking forward to doing with him. It is a plan at this point, which probably makes it better.”
Between Count Me In and Vital Chance de la Roque, Swail has recorded five NAL victories over the course of the last two seasons, and with Count Me In, Swail finished eighth in Leipzig. He will continue to pursue points toward the 2023 Finals in Omaha (USA) at upcoming legs in Toronto (CAN) and Las Vegas (USA).
“Since I got those two horses, Count Me In and Vital Chance de la Roque, we really hit it off, and we’ve gone through the roof,” Swail said.
Swail boasts a commanding lead in the NAL standings with 40 points. Bluman and Sophia Siegel (USA) are tied for second with 17 points apiece.
The North American League resumes in Lexington (USA) on 05 November 2022.