Ireland’s Conor Swail Speeds to Victory in Wellington
WELLINGTON, FL, Feb. 29 -
Ireland’s Conor Swail claimed his first victory of the 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, by winning the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge on Friday at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
The CN Winter Equestrian Festival is now in week seven, the CSI3* Zada Enterprises Wellington Masters, presented by PowerIce. A total of 47 challengers attempted the speed track set by German course designer Christa Heibach of Germany.
Early in the class, Conor Swail and Gold Digger produced a clear round in a time of 62.85 seconds. Despite being followed into the International Arena by numerous Olympic and World Championship medalists, the Dublin-based rider’s time would prove to be unbeatable.
“I felt it was very good, I don’t think that anyone could have beaten me with the strides I was doing,” said Swail who began riding Gold Digger, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion by Calvados, last October for owner Glenn Leddy. “He has an open gallop and I knew I was quick.”
Swail noted that in the two times he has taken Gold Digger into the International Arena, he crashed once and won once. Gold Digger was to be his mount for the $75,000 FEI Nations’ Cup, presented by CN, in one week’s time, but a series of setbacks has prevented Swail’s plan from coming to fruition.
“I crashed in the 1.40m the first time I did it, then I pulled my hamstring playing soccer and was off for two weeks, and then I was in California last week. It just has been one thing after another,” noted Swail, 36, who has competed at the CN Winter Equestrian Festival for the past five years. “He’s a great horse, and I’ve just got to get him up and running. I am too late to do the Nations’ Cup this year, but I am staying until week 12. Hopefully we’ll be in the winner’s circle a few more times before the circuit ends.”
Taking second was Nicole Simpson of Wellington, FL, and Lutopia, who had won the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge during week five. The pair stopped the clock in a time of 63.86 seconds to finish runner-up for owner Jane Clark.
American Olympian Margie Engle, also of Wellington, Fla., guided Hidden Creek’s Calipo into third position with a time of 63.90 seconds while Olympic champion Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil took fourth place by stopping the timers in 66.06 seconds with Cantate Z, a mare owned by Double H Farm.
Friday’s $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge is part of the North American League (NAL). The NAL offers a year-long Series in six divisions -Children’s Jumper, Adult Jumper, Pony Jumper, Open Jumper, Children’s Hunter, and Adult Hunter presented by Practical Horseman. The Series includes classes held at hundreds of horse shows across the United States and Canada. Finals for all divisions are held at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, Penn., in October. For more information regarding the NAL series, please call (717) 867-5643, e-mail NAL@Ryegate.com or visit www.ryegate.com.
The CSI3*-W Zada Enterprises Wellington Masters, presented by Power Ice, concludes with Sunday’s $100,000 Zada Enterprises, LLC Masters Cup, which acts as a World Cup Qualifying event for the 2008 World Cup Final in Goteborg, Sweden. It is also the second U.S. Show Jumping Team Selection Trials for the 2008 Olympic Games.
of Class 1005 - $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge
1 - 6316 GOLD
DIGGER CONOR SWAIL 0.00 62.857 GLENN LEDDY
The 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival attracts the best horses and riders from around the world to Wellington and offers more than $5 million in prize money. For more information, visit www.equestriansport.com