Ireland's Conor Swail and Chinook Valley, Inc.'s Martha Louise were victorious in Thursday's $33,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 10 during week ten of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival's (FTI WEF), sponsored by Horseware Ireland.
Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Germany set the course in the International Arena for Thursday's Challenge Cup class with 64 entries, 13 clear rounds to advance to the jump-off, and five double clear efforts over the short course. Conor Swail and Martha Louise, a nine-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare by Maloubet de Pleville 1039 x Wolfgang, had the leading time in 42.53 seconds.
Swail got Martha Louise last year and had a great season with many top placings, including wins in the Gijon and Dublin 5* shows in Europe. The mare is just starting up with her season this year and has not shown a lot yet, but proved to be back in form with a great win on Thursday.
"She kind of excelled herself today; she was just fantastic," Swail smiled after the class. "She is a real good winner. She is a great horse to have on the truck and she is only nine years old. I have to say, she was very good today. I wasn't really expecting her to be so good because she hasn't been doing a lot and I thought she would be a bit rusty, but she was fantastic in the jump-off."
Swail went second in the jump-off and had to beat a fast pace set down by Charlie Jacobs and Flaming Star. He explained his strategy.
"I was quite lucky because Charlie was first and I was second," Swail stated. "I watched him closely because he is a fast rider and also whenever the ring is dragged, there are no other tracks, only his, so when I was riding around I could see his tracks. He was tight. He was very good one to two, he was tight to three. He was also very tight to the white oxer, but then coming down to the double he went ten (strides) and I went eight. I think that is where I got him. I took the risk of having the vertical down. I was quite narrow going into the double and I think that is where it paid off."
With a smaller class and some of the top horses taking a break after last week's CSI 5* competition, Swail thought the class was a perfect way for Martha Louise to start the season.
"She is a very kind horse," he said of the mare. "She has a big, slow canter, but she also has a lot of quality and good scope. She is really nice. She could be inexperienced at this level. Sometimes she can worry a bit off the jump and sometimes I can press too hard and don't totally trust that she will do it, so that we have to smooth out a little, but apart from that she does a lot of great things."
Charlie Jacobs (USA) and CMJ Sporthorse LLC's Flaming Star finished second in 43.72 seconds. Lauren Tisbo (USA) and Tequestrian Farms LLC's Roundthorn Madios were third in 44.47 seconds. Heather Caristo-Williams and M/M Ralph Caristo's Evening Star placed fourth in 44.49 seconds. Fifth place honors went to Japan's Taizo Sugitani and Yvonne Young's Avenzio 3 with their time of 47.39 seconds.
Along with his winning prize money, Swail was also presented with a special rider's bonus for the SSG "Go Clean for the Green" promotion. A $3,000 bonus is offered each week if the winning rider of the Challenge Cup class is wearing the SSG 'Digital' Riding Gloves in all rounds of competition with the SSG logo clearly visible.
Final Results: $33,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 10
1. MARTHA LOUISE: 2004 Swedish Warmblood mare by Maloubet de Pleville 1039 x Wolfgang
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Chinook Valley, Inc: 0/0/42.53
2. FLAMING STAR: 1999 AES gelding by Fairman x Unknown
CHARLIE JACOBS (USA), CMJ Sporthorse LLC: 0/0/43.72
3. ROUNDTHORN MADIOS: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Condios x Clover Hill
LAUREN TISBO (USA), Tequestrian Farms, LLC: 0/0/44.47
4. EVENING STAR: 2002 Holsteiner gelding by Coriano x Lenz
HEATHER CARISTO WILLIAMS (USA), Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Caristo: 0/0/44.49
5. AVENZIO 3: 1999 KWPN gelding by Animo x Erdball xx
TAIZO SUGITANI (JPN), Yvonne Young: 0/0/47.39
6. WALK TALL II: 2002 AES gelding by Kannan x Farhaan
CIAN O'CONNOR (IRL), Ronnoco Jump, Ltd:0/1/53.59
7. E MUZE YEK: 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding by For Pleasure x Carthago
DARRAGH KERINS (IRL), Darragh Kerins & Maarten Huygens: 0/4/43.77
8. ANY GIVEN SUNDAY: 2003 Oldenburg stallion Indoctro x Condor
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Hays Investment Corp: 0/8/41.11
9. CORAL REEF VIA VOLO: 1998 BWP mare by Clinton x Heartbreaker
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Coral Reef Ranch: 0/8/43.70
10. EREGAST VAN'T KIEZELHOF: 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Latano
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm, LLC: 0/12/44.38
11. TEIRRA: 2000 KWPN mare by Tolano Van Het Riethof x Aldatus
ALISE OKEN (USA), Hi Hopes Farm, LLC: 0/12/44.48
12. LEAP OF JOY: 2001 Holsteiner gelding by Lovari x Silbersee
CHARLIE JACOBS (USA), Deeridge Farms: 0/16/47.12
Source: Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
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