Ireland’s Conor Swail took GK Coco Chanel for a flight to first place against a impressive entry of talented horse/rider combinations in this afternoon’s West Jet Cup competition.
With a near 90 competitors walking under the grand arch of the Meadows on the Green Ring, Canadian course designer Peter Grant had a difficult task ahead to create a competition that, in the end, found fantastic jumping and great suspense.
Conor Swail(IRL) rode brand new partner, GK Coco Chanel, a 9 year-old Holstein gelding, to victory in only their third competition together. “I actually just began riding him at Thunderbird Show park in Langley BC just a week prior to the Spruce Meadows ‘National’ Tournament. I jumped around the 1.40m during week one of the Summer Series and he was quite good – clear every day – and so we bumped him up for his second week here.” Swail continued, “to ride, he is a little bit sharp, he gets a bit lit up around the other horses but he has a lot of quality and a great jump.” When asked about where he found his edge on course, Swail remarked, “The whole way around today he was very smooth and didn’t spend too much time in the air and on the landing I could ask him to move away and he was just so fast – so I believe it was his general ground speed that gave me the advantage today.”
The top five placings were all so close in their finishing time but following behind Swail for second place was Francisco Pasquel(MEX) aboard Naranjo, a 10 year-old Selle Francais gelding, arriving to the finish 0.58 seconds behind Swail.
Beezie Madden(USA) was third fastest of nine double clear performances of the 16 riders returning for the jump off. It was a photo finish time behind Pasquel, coming home just two hundredths of a second off Francisco’s pace.