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Conor Swail continues hot streak in $75,000 CSI4*-W tbird Cup 1.50m

Saturday, 25 September 2021
CSI4*-W Vancouver 2021

Photo © Quinn Saunders/tbird. Conor Swail and Theo 160 were best in the $75,000 CSI4*-W tbird Cup 1.50m. Photo © Quinn Saunders/tbird.


Edited press release from Thunderbird Show Park



Conor Swail (IRL) is widely regarded as Thunderbird Show Park's winningest rider, and he wasted no time living up to that reputation at the Harvest Celebration CSI4*-W. On Friday in the Thunderbird Jumper Arena, Swail won a four-star event for the second day in a row. 

In fact, he took the top two places in Friday afternoon's $75,000 CSI4*-W tbird Cup, a 1.50m speed contest set by Canadian course designer Peter Holmes. After topping Thursday's $75,000 CSI4*-W Welcome with the 12-year-old Vital Chance de la Roque (Diamant de Semilly x Rivage du Poncel), the less experienced Theo 160 (Christian x Calando IV) took his turn atop the podium, crossing the timers in 71.74 seconds.

Swail and "Vinny" finished second (72.82 seconds), while Swail's student Vanessa Mannix (CAN) rode to third honors (73.83) aboard her longtime mount, Catinka 25 (Catoki x Luxano).

"He's such a nice horse," Swail said of Theo. "He's brave and careful, he's nice and scopey and fast, so it's everything. I'm really enjoying riding him and developing him."

Photo © tbird/Kim Gaudry. Conor Swail (IRL) and Vanessa Mannix (CAN). Photo © tbird/Kim Gaudry.

Swail and Team Philippaerts' 9-year-old gelding had a breakout summer in Langley, winning three CSI3* classes in the span of just two weeks at the Summer Fort Classic and Summer Fort Festival. The liver chestnut has rested since.

"He's just learning the game," Swail said. "He was exceptional here at Thunderbird in August, and he's had a little break, and this is his first show back. After three weeks, he's started where he left off."

Swail and Theo were just the second combination to take on Holmes' course, which featured a myriad of rollback turns and opportunities to shave time with inside tracks. The pair would set the standard.

Swail's track was the picture of expedience. He and his mount executed a challenging inside route after the first fence with a smoothness that was not replicated in the remainder of the 19-horse field. The round continued with highlights, including tremendous turns to the final two lines on course.

"He actually jumped a very good round yesterday [in the Welcome], and we just had the last fence down. So, for him to come out today again and go in second, to go quite early, we didn't really have much information at that stage about how quick it was going to be," Swail detailed. "Everything came up very well. I thought he jumped extremely, extremely well and stayed careful the whole way around."

Swail owns the gelding in partnership with members of the Philippaerts family, who helped make the pairing in February. Philippaerts acquired him from his breeder, Jenny Abrahamsson, and later gave the ride to Nicole Mestrom (NED). 

"Now that I have him, there's quite a few people that say 'You know, I know that horse. I like that horse. I tried to buy that horse,'" Swail said. "So, he certainly had a reputation before he came here. It is very nice that he's continued to grow with me. He looks like a super competitive, lovely horse."

Photo © tbird/Kim Gaudry. Conor Swail and Theo 160. Photo © tbird/Kim Gaudry.

Competition at the Harvest Celebration CSI4*-W continues Saturday with the $15,000 CSI4*-W Winning Round 1.45m and the $15,000 CSIU25-A MarBill Hill U25 League 1.40m Powered by Grant Productions.

All classes from the Thunderbird Jumper Arena will be live streamed on tbird TV except for Sunday's $150,000 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver, which will be streamed live on FEI TV.


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