It’s hardly a surprise when Conor Swail rides to another convincing victory at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, this time in the $37,000 Steel-Craft Doors Cup on Friday, Aug. 20..
What made it a nail-biter was the way in which he did it.
Cantering down the last line as the penultimate combination, Swail and Theo 160 met the seventh and final stride far from the oxer in front of them.
Swail admits, at that moment he was questioning his decision to do the leave-out on his quick but smaller-strided mount.
“I have to say, when I got three steps down [the line], I thought, ‘[Going for seven strides] was a bad idea,’” Swail commented.
But Theo 160 bounded easily over the fence and galloped through the timers, securing the pair’s second international win of the week at the Summer Fort Classic after topping Wednesday’s $37,000 George & Dianne Tidball Legacy 1.45m.
Swail and his 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding bested a nine-horse jump-off Friday afternoon in the Fort Grand Prix Arena, crossing the timers of Peter Holmes’ shortened track in 39.28 seconds. Darrin Dlin and Buddy Bounce finished second , and Swail bookended the podium with his second mount, Gamble.
The win involved a notable test for his still-new mount, whom he only began riding midway through the winter season. As Theo 160 has advanced to the international level, Swail has not put his focus on speed. The gelding stepped up in a noticeable way to win a competitive jump-off.
“His experience level is very limited,” Swail observed. “I haven’t really gone too fast on him yet, as he’s just getting used to jumping that height. But we were second-last to go, and I was not leading. The way he was jumping, you’ve got to give it a go.”
$37,000 Steel-Craft Doors Cup 1.50m
Place / Horse / Rider / Nationality / Owner / Faults / Time
1. Theo 160 / Conor Swail / IRL / Conor Swail / 0/0 39.28
2. Buddy Bounce / Darrin Dlin / CAN / Dorothy Dlin / 0/0 40.75
3. Gamble / Conor Swail / IRL / Asta Torokvei / 0/0 41.47
4. Camila M 4 / Jaclyn Duff / CAN / Windermere Stables Ltd / 0/0 41.61
5. Baton Rouge / Samantha Buirs-Darville / CAN / Samantha Buirs-Darville / 0/0 41.86
6. Vienna / Tiffany Foster / CAN / Artisan Farms, LLC / 0/4 38.72
7. Cunningham 4 / Christopher Lowe / CAN / Christopher Lowe / 0/4 42.42
8. Hamilton / Tiffany Foster / CAN / The Hamilton Group / 0/4 42.78
9. Cardino Z / Ellicia Edgar / CAN / Ellicia Edgar / 0/12 44.72
10. Kitting des Hausseurs / Vanessa Mannix / CAN / Vanessa Mannix / 4 72.51
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