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Conor Swail back to winning in Wellington with Casturano

Friday, 29 March 2024
CSI5*/CSI2* Winter Equestrian Festival 2024 (W12)

Photo © Sportfot. Conor Swail & Casturano are presented as winners of the $117,000 Adequan® CSI5* WEF Challenge Cup Round 12. Photo © Sportfot.


Press release from Wellington International



Seventeen of the world’s top-30 show jumping athletes have converged at Wellington International’s Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) for the 12th and final week of international competition in Wellington, FL. The $117,000 Adequan® CSI5* WEF Challenge Cup Round 12 kicked off the Rolex-sponsored finale week on Thursday with a win for an on-fire Irish contingent. Conor Swail (IRL) and Casturano, an 11-year-old Holsteiner Castelan 3 gelding, topped the fifty-seven horse field. 

WEF 12 comes to a peak during ‘Saturday Night Lights’ with the $500,000 Rolex CSI5* Grand Prix before the 2024 season concludes on March 31. 

Tapped as the Jumping Technical Delegate for the Paris Olympics, course designer Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) saw 15 horses advance to the tie-breaking jump-off. Six Irishmen and representatives of five other nations found their way forward. Swail set the time-to-beat of 36.25 seconds early in the jump-off.

“The horse is phenomenal,” said Swail of the Conall Murray-owned gelding that is still gaining experience at the five-star level. “He just needs a few more big classes—another six or seven five stars—and I'm going to have a lot of fun with him. He’s so much quality, careful; he's honestly incredible. In the beginning he was going too high, but he’s matured a lot over the last year. 

“I was in California over the winter because I thought that would be a better start for him,” Continued Swail, 52, who made his WEF debut during WEF 11. “The plan was always to come here and give him a little bit of a tougher test and it’s worked out great.”

Casturano rose to the occasion in one of the horse’s most challenging tests to date. Foot speed, swift corners and efficiency in the air secured Swail the win. 

Photo © Sportfot. Christian Kukuk & Mumbai. Photo © Sportfot.

Just off the pace, Germany’s Christian Kukuk gave the victory a solid effort, piloting 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion Mumbai. The Beerbaum Stables’ owned Diamant De Semilly son secured the runner-up position in a time of 36.35 seconds.

With less than four tenths of a second separating the top three, Ireland bookended the podium with Andrew Bourns taking third in a time of 36.56 seconds. He piloted QBS Equestrian’s 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Sea TopBlue (Chacco-Blue x Lux Z).

“There are so many good riders here in Wellington that winning a class is really just about sticking to your plan and doing your best,” said Swail. “Ireland has so many strong riders right now in the U.S. and Europe, it’s wonderful to be among them.”


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