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Conor Swail claims Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup win

Saturday, 26 January 2019
Winter Equestrian Festival 2019 – Week 3

Photo (c) Sportfot. Conor Swail with GK Coco Chanel. Photo (c) Sportfot.

Conor Swail of Ireland and GK Coco Chanel (Clarimo x Lerano 2) topped the $36,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 3 CSI 3* on Friday, January 25, at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL. The 12-week WEF circuit, held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) features hunter, jumper, and equitation competition and continues through March 31, 2019.

Due to inclement weather forecast in the area tomorrow evening, the start time of the $134,000 Adequan® Grand Prix has been changed to 6:00 p.m. from the originally scheduled start time of 7:00 p.m.

Highlight events yet to come during the third week of competition, sponsored by Adequan®, include the $134,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3* on Saturday, January 26, at 6 p.m. and the $36,000 1.50m CaptiveOne Classic on Sunday morning.

The $36,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 3 commenced at 8 a.m. on Thursday morning with 75 of the 91 entered competitors contesting the Peter Grant (CAN) designed course before inclement weather caused the postponement of the remainder of Thursday’s competition. The remaining 16 WEF Challenge Cup entries returned at 8 a.m. Friday morning to conclude the first round, before seven entries advanced to jump-off immediately following.

When Swail and GK Coco Chanel returned for the short course, Daniel Bedoya of Colombia had set the clear time to beat at 42.569 seconds aboard his own Quattro (Quasimodo Z x Celano), but Bedoya was soon relegated to second place as Swail and the 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Clarimo x Lerano 2), owned by Vanessa Mannix, tripped the timers in 41.851 seconds to claim the win. Finishing in third place with four faults and a time of 39.197 seconds was Fabio Leivas da Costa of Brazil riding Tosca de l’Esque (Cardento x Apache A'adriers), owned by Bonne Chance Farm LLC.

“I saw the first couple of guys go, so I had a gauge of the time,” said Swail, who has had the ride on GK Coco Chanel for two years. “There was a 39 [with four faults] there, and then, just before I went in, there was a clear round in 42 seconds, so I knew it wasn’t really quick, so I felt I could just shave off a little time. It’s not that I was taking a lot of risks. I still felt comfortable enough with everything I was doing; I think I just got a nice rollback tight turn to the vertical that was second to last. That probably made it that I just snuck past the guy in front.”

This week marks GK Coco Chanel’s first week showing in 2019 following a successful 2018 season that included wins at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, NC, and Spruce Meadows in Calgary, AB.

“It’s very nice that he’s started off in such a positive way,” said Swail. “He has been very consistent over the last six months; it’s great that we’re continuing the good trend.

“He’s not the most straight forward horse I’ve ever ridden, but very, very talented,” continued Swail. “He’s very quirky. He’s very alert and very sharp, and he has all of the quality, scope, and carefulness, and he’s got a lot of great attributes. Every horse you ride, you have to find their strengths and weaknesses and work on their weaknesses and build on their strengths. He has all the power; he’s a really good athlete as a jumper. He has a big stride. He’s easy to get down any distances that are a little forward. For me now he’s quite rideable and a very exciting horse.”

Swail will next aim the gelding at Saturday night’s $134,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3* before looking toward the CSI 5* competition held during WEF week 5.

Press release from Equestrian Sport Productions

Photo © Sportfot

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