In a great display of horsemanship, Ireland's Conor Swail guided both of his horses to the top of the leaderboard in the $50,000 ATCO Structures & Logistics Cup 1.50m. There were 41 entries in the class, and 14 in the jump-off. Swail went fifth in the order on Lansdowne in the jump-off and with a daring approach to the final oxer, he took the lead with a clear round in 37.06 seconds. Six horses later, Swail was back on Martha Louise, and with efficient turns and an open stride, they brought the winning time down to 35.80 seconds for the win.
Fellow Irishman Dermott Lennon rode Keonan Stables Ltd's Hallmark Elite to third place in 37.13 seconds. In fourth was Hans-Dieter Dreher (GER) with Magnus Romeo with a time of 38.51 seconds, while Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) and Early Morning Mist placed fifth with a time of 39.17 seconds.
"I had an awesome day today," Swail acknowledged with a big smile. "The two horses were absolutely fabulous. To come first and second in front of the international riders, the fantastic riders that are here, is really special. It's lovely here and there was a nice crowd here today. It's always lovely to win at Spruce Meadows."
In addition to his 1-2 in the International Ring, Swail also won the $15,000 Oxford Properties Group Cup 1.30m with Arista and the $25,000 Phillips, Hager & North Cup 1.40m on Game Ready in the All Canada Ring.
While Swail was quick with Lansdowne, he did feel that Martha Louise (left), a nine-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare by Maoubet de Pleville x Wolfgang, had a good chance of catching him. He explained, "Lansdowne is a big mover, but he's a little slower than Martha. I knew Martha could probably be a little quicker around the same. I was surprised when she was so fast actually. She was smoking. The first bit was so fast and she turned so well after the wall that I knew all I needed to do was be patient at the last four jumps. She had it done by then."
Martha Louise has been a proven performer this year for Swail, who sold her to his owners, Susan & Ariel Grange, after the winter circuit. She placed in 11 of 12 classes during the Spruce Meadows Summer Series, and went on to finish in the ribbons at the Dublin CSIO and the three-star events at the P.S.I. FEI European Jumping Championships before coming to the 'Masters'. She was third yesterday and picked up the win today. "Her record has been absolutely phenomenal here," Swail affirmed. "She looks like she could be pushing Lansdowne for the top spot, the way she's been going."
Swail was pleased with the way Lansdowne has rebounded after jumping in the European Championships in Denmark just 10 days ago. "It was as big as I've ever jumped and as big as he's ever jumped. He struggled a bit and I'm really happy how he's come out of it. This is the next big test," he said.
While he plans to show Lansdowne in the BMO Nations Cup on Saturday and the $1 Million CN International on Sunday, his feeling on Saturday will be the deciding factor. "We'll see how Saturday goes," he pointed out. "If he handles himself well, I'll be looking forward to Sunday. If he doesn't, I don't have to go. I'm not going to go if I don't think I can win. There's always other years, and there's going to be a lot of years left in that horse. He's growing all the time. I think hopefully he'll be a horse to watch out for in the next three or four years."
Swail added, "I have to thank my owners. I'm so lucky I have some fabulous horses. I'm #36 in the world now, which is the highest ranking I've ever been; 37 was my highest before!"
Final Results: $50,000 ATCO Structures & Logistics Cup 1.50m
1. MARTHA LOUISE: 2004 Swedish Warmblood mare by Maloubet de Pleville 1039 x Wolfgang
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Susan & Ariel Grange: 0/0/35.80
2. LANSDOWNE: 2003 KWPN stallion by Guidam x Wolfgang
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Ariel & Susan Grange: 0/0/37.06
3. HALLMARK ELITE: 2000 Zangersheide gelding by Lord Barron Z x Renville
DERMOTT LENNON (IRL), Keonan Stables Ltd: 0/0/37.13
4. MAGNUS ROMEO: 2001 Argentine stallion by Royal Feu x Hans Anders Z
HANS DIETER DREHER (GER), Gestut Grenzland/Hans Brandlin & Paul Bucheler: 0/0/38.51
5. EARLY MORNING MIST: 2004 Warmblood mare by Lancaster V x Kannan
NICOLA PHILIPPAERTS (BEL), Ludo Philippaerts Horse Trading bvba: 0/0/39.17
6. QUOD'COEUR DE LA LOGE: 2004 Selle Francais stallion by Ideal de la Loge x Tenor de la Cour
ROGER-YVES BOST (FRA), Equiblue et Bosty Jump: 0/0/39.21
7. STAR POWER: 2001 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Quick Star
IAN MILLAR (CAN), Team Works: 0/0/39.35
8. EROS H: 2004 Belgian Sport Horse gelding by Emilion x Saygon
MICHAEL WHITAKER (GBR), Graham Gillespie: 0/0/39.75
9. OHLALA: 2003 Swedish Warmblood mare by Orlando x Cardento
LAUREN HOUGH (USA), Lauren Hough: 0/4/36.45
10. QUINTENDER 2: 2000 Hanoverian stallion by Quinar x Contender
LUDO PHILIPPAERTS (BEL), EM Horses: 0/4/37.55
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
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