World of Showjumping
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Conor Swail's stroke of genius secures the win in $38,700 CSI4* 1.45m Classic

Sunday, 19 February 2023
CSI4* Desert International Horse Park 2023

Photo © High Desert Sport Photo. Conor Swail (IRL) and Theo 160. Photo © High Desert Sport Photo.


Press release from Desert International Horse Park



Between the Grand Prix arena and the golf course, Conor Swail (IRL) has been on top form in the desert. After finishing second in Friday night’s $145,100 CSI4* Welcome Prix with Theo 160, Swail and the 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Christian 25 x Calando IV) took the win in Saturday’s $38,700 Pomponio Ranch CSI4* 1.45m Classic with a time of 32.91 seconds.

“Theo had a good result last night under the lights, so today was a more comfortable course for him after what he had done,” Swail explained. “The first round was pretty solid and the jump-off I was very happy with. I was very tight back to the second jump. I also got a very good turn back to the double combination. I saw one very early and he picked up beautifully. I was very happy with the round. I thought it was going to take a very good round to beat it.”

Nine pairs advanced to the jump-off after navigating Alan Wade’s (IRL) track clear, but no one could catch Swail’s early lead. Katie Laurie (AUS) and McCaw MVNZ, owned by Carissa McCall, finished second with a time of 33.65 seconds, and Matt Archer (USA) with Zibaloubet Z, owned by Rys Farms, LLC, landed in third with a time of 36.27 seconds.

Photo © High Desert Sport Photo. Conor Swail (IRL) and Theo 160 in their winning presentation. Photo © High Desert Sport Photo.

The Irishman is currently ranked fifth in the Longines FEI World Rankings, and has held a spot within the top ten for an impressive stretch of time. “I’ve been very consistent since I’ve been up in the top ten,” he remarked. “I have a good group of horses and they’re very well managed; I have a good team at the moment and we’re doing a lot of things right. I think that’s the reason for the continued success.”

In addition to his success at DIHP, Swail is one of the few riders traveling between winter circuits in Florida and California. “It’s going really well for me,” he commented. “It’s a beautiful place [at DIHP] for the horses. I am competing four or five horses here. I don’t really understand why more people aren’t doing what I’m doing. It’s a great facility, the footing is fantastic, the hospitality is super, and the weather is great, golf is great. It’s a better place here to build up your horses.” 

Swail demonstrates incredible balance and horsemanship in the saddle, which he attributes to riding and breaking young and unpredictable horses in his younger years.

“When something quick happens, you have to put yourself in the center,” he explained. “It’s more of an instinct thing but I always try to sit up and give them an opportunity to stay on their four feet. I make a lot of unusual moves; I don’t know whether they’re necessary sometimes. I seem to feel they are at the time, so why change it when I could just stick with it at this stage.”

Swail hasn’t just been competitive in the show ring, however. He has made the most of his days in the desert and frequents the local golf courses. “I got a game [of golf] yesterday actually,” Swail laughed. “I showed in the morning [on Friday] and got a game between that class and the night class.”

FEI competition concludes for Desert Circuit VI on Sunday with the $226,000 CSI4* Adequan Grand Prix.

Final Results: $38,700 Pomponio Ranch CSI4* 1.45m Classic

1. THEO 160: 2012 HOLST gelding by Christian 25 x Calando IV
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Team Philippaerts: 0/0/32.91

2. MCCAW MVNZ: 2011 NZWB gelding by Corofino II x Cassini II
KATIE LAURIE (AUS), Carissa McCall: 0/0/33.65

3. ZIBALOUBET Z: 2014 ZANG gelding by Zirocco Blue x Baloubet Du Rouet
MATT ARCHER (USA), Rhys Farms, LLC: 0/0/36.27

4.LONDONS DE MUZE: 2014 OS stallion by London x Conthargos
UMA O’NEILL (NZL), O’Neill Showjumping LLC: 0/0/36.99

5. STERN DEI FOLLETTI: 2011 HOLST gelding by Toulon x Berlin
KARRIE RUFER (USA), Morning Star Sporthorses, LLC: 0/4/33.88

6. NADALE VAN DORPERHEIDE: 2013 BWP gelding by Zilverstar T x Winningmood
CASSIO RIVETTI (BRA), Ilan Ferder: 0/4/35.22

7. CARMELA Z: 2011 ZANG mare by Candillo 3 x Nissan Caretano Z
VANESSA MANNIX (CAN), Vanessa Mannix: 0/4/36.38

8. ZAMIA 3: 2007 HOLST mare by Aljano 2 x Dream Of Glory
CHANDLER MEADOWS (USA), Chandler Meadows: 0/8/37.27

9. CHICAGO CM: 2013 HOLST gelding by Cassini x Carpaccio
ERIC KRAWITT (CAN), Eric Krawitt: 0/14/47.54

10. DOTCOM D’ATHUIT: 2013 SF mare by Diamant de Semilly x Quidam de Revel
NATALIE DEAN (USA), Marigold Sporthorses LLC: 4/66.58

11. CALYPSO DE BLONDEL: 2012 SF gelding by Lauterbach x Kassidi
ERYNN BALLARD (CAN), Ilan Ferder: 4/70.01

12. GRANDEUR WP: 2011 KWPN gelding by Whistler x Vainqueur
BRETTON CHAD (CAN), Stone Ridge Farms LLC: 4/73.64

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