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Conor Swail and Count Me In invincible in the Prix des Communes Genevoises

Friday, 09 December 2022
CHI Geneva 2022

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ “Count Me In’s statistics show that he is one of the best horses in the world,” Swail said after taking the top honours in the Prix des Communes Genevoises at CHI Geneva. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

 

Text © World of Showjumping

 


 

Conor Swail's (IRL) 15-year-old gelding Count Me In (Count Grannus x Sherlock Holmes) yet again lived up to his name when taking the win with no less than 1.36 seconds down to runner-up Marcus Ehning (GER) and his veteran Funky Fred (For Pleasure x Pilot) in Friday’s CSI5* 1.50m Prix des Communes Genevoises at the 2022-edition of CHI Geneva.

A Table A against the clock, counting as the second qualifier for Sunday’s Rolex Grand Prix, the Prix des Communes Genevoises had sixty horse-and-rider combinations at start and sixteen of them cleared the thirteen fence-track designed by Gérard Lachat (SUI) and Louis Konickx (NED). The course included several challenges, like the planks at fence no. three which came out of a rollback that invited to be made as tight as possible, as well as a few lines in particular – such as from the triple bar-vertical combination at 6ab followed by four strides to a wide liverpool oxer, and from the Rolex oxer at fence no. 9 followed by five forward or six shorter strides to an oxer-vertical combination at 10ab. There were several options to turn tight and leave out strides, and to win risks had to be taken all around. 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Count Me In living up to his name for Conor Swail, taking yet another big win – this time at CHI Geneva. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

The first clear of the class came from Daniel Deusser (GER) and Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z (Tangelo vd Zuuthoeve x Mr. Blue) who stopped the clock at 67.52 seconds. However, the pair was overtaken by Niklaus Schurtenberger (SUI) and Quincassi (Quintero x Cassini I) as next to go when the two stopped the clock at 66.95. A few riders later Shane Sweetnam (IRL) produced an even faster round with Alejandro (Acorado's Ass x Continue), bringing the time down to 65.27. Sweetnam’s time was quickly bettered by home hero Elian Baumann (SUI) though, who as no. 11 in the order-to-go stopped the clock at 64.46 with Little Lumpi E (Lordanos x Polydor) – and for a long time this remained the time to beat. 

It took more than thirty riders before anyone came close to Baumann’s time, and it was Ben Maher (GBR) that aboard Dallas Vegas Batilly (Cap Kennedy*Bois Margot x l'Arc de Triomphe*Bois Margot) slotted into runner-up position 0.10 seconds behind the Swiss rider. 

With thirteen left to go, German maestro Marcus Ehning showed everyone how it should be done when he in his signature effortless style cruised around on Funky Fred (For Pleasure x Pilot) to shave off no less than 2.37 seconds on the leading time – making the course look like a walk in the park. But today, even Ehning was not fast enough – a few riders later Conor Swail (IRL) entered the massive Palexpo ring with Count Me In (Count Grannus x Sherlock Holmes) – that has finished no less than nine times on the podium in big classes for the Irish rider during the year. With a beautiful yet lightning fast round the pair had a perfect flow throughout the course, and crossing the finish line they had managed to bring the time to beat down to an unbelievable 60.73 seconds which none of the remaining horse-and-rider combinations could match. 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Runners-up: Marcus Ehning and Funky Fred. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“I think the whole way around,” Swail said when asked where he thought he made the winning difference. “The course was jumping quite difficult actually for how it walked, but obviously being near the end I knew what I needed to do. I started off one to two, which was a little forward eight and I got that good. Then I got a good rollback to number three and then everything just came up well – seven to the triple bar was a bit of a risk for me, but again he went a bit left and I got inside to the triple good. I did all the leave-outs, and I think if I went another hundred times, I would not be able to do a better job.”

“Count Me In’s statistics show that he is one of the best horses in the world,” Swail said about his incredible horse. “It is not a surprise that he comes here and wins, that is what he always does; he always gives me good chances. If I ride him well and we have a little bit of luck, we are always ahead. He is so careful, and we really do have a good relationship together. I think he really trusts me a lot; he gives me a lot of belief and vice versa. I do believe all good partnerships are unique and I wish I had him a few years earlier, but I think I am really lucky to even have him at all. I am really thankful for us coming together and hopefully we can have a few more successful years.”



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