Horse Sport - Conor Swail adds to Irish global domination with World Cup win in Canada

Conor Swail

An incredible weekend for Irish Show Jumping continued into the early hours of this morning (Monday), when Co Down’s Conor Swail stormed to victory in the three-star Longines FEI World Cup qualifier at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, British Columbia in Canada.

Riding the 12-year-old mare Flower, whom he owns along with Vanessa Mannix, Swail (pictured above) came out on top after a seven horse jump-off. They crossed the line clear in 41.86 seconds, almost four seconds faster than Canadian runner-up Christopher Surbey (CAN) with Daylight VDL, while Jamie Barge (USA) and Luebbo finished third.

This latest win was the fourth international victory for Swail and Flower over the course of the last two weeks,

“I just continued with the same process that we came here with,” Swail said. “It was working very well, so there was no need to try to change too much. My mare was absolutely outstanding, and it was really good to finish it off with the win.”

Last to go in the jump-off, Swail and Flower ended up comfortable winners,

“I knew the time was easily attainable,” Swail explained. “[Flower] is very good at running and jumping, so I let her run and jump the first few jumps. I didn’t take any major risks and just knew that, with the way she was jumping, she would leave the jumps up as long as I didn’t make any mistakes.

“It’s an early relationship that I have with [Flower]. She is a little unique. She can be quite difficult to ride at times. She’s very spooky and can see stuff that’s not there. She has an extremely funny character, but when she goes into the ring, she’s not spooky at all. She’s dead brave and very careful. I’ve been trying to level out all those situations and make her trust me as much as we can. It’s getting much more consistent. We’ve won a lot since I got her in early January. I feel now that I’m starting to get all the pieces in the right places consistently.”

Swail’s latest win came on the back of an incredible weekend where Ireland claimed the team gold medal at the Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden. Rodrigo Pessoa’s team of Shane Sweetnam, Bertram Allen, Denis Lynch and Cian O’Connor were crowned European Champions  – 16 years after Ireland’s only other European team gold win at Arnhen in The Netherlands in 2001. On Sunday, Cian O’Connor claimed the individual bronze medal in Gothenburg after a stunning performance with his stallion Good Luck while Shane Sweetnam and Denis Lynch also finished in the top 10.

Tipperary’s Shane Breen (pictured above) meanwhile, scored a win in Sunday’s three-star Grand Prix at Valence in France with the Team Z7-owned stallion Laith. The result came after a runner-up finish for the same combination in a five-star Grand Prix at the same venue last weekend,

“I’ve spent two wonderful weeks at the Jumping International of Valence. I’m very pleased with my horses, first Vendi who finished third twice and a runner-up finish, and Laith who finished second of the Grand Prix last week and really deserved to win today,” Breen said.