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Conor Swail speeds to victory in $32,000 CSI2* Welcome Stake at Blenheim EquiSports

Press release from Blenheim EquiSports


Ireland’s Conor Swail has started the 2024 Blenheim EquiSports season the same way he ended the 2023 season: winning.

On Friday, April 5, Swail and Vital Chance de La Roque (Diamant de Semilly x Rivage du Poncel) sped to victory in the $32,000 CSI4* Welcome Speed Stake to kick off the weekend at the Blenheim Spring Classic I, held at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano, CA. 

On their way to the win, Swail and “Vinny” were one of 28 entries to take on the one-round class designed by Jaime Morillo and built on the Oaks International Grand Prix Field. When the pair entered the ring as the 10th in the order, the time to beat had been set at 58.98 seconds by fellow Irishman James Chawke aboard Daido van’t Ruytershof Z (Dieu-Merci van T&L x Bamako de Muze).

“Vanessa [Mannix], James [Chawke] and Alexis [Sokolov] as well, we all work together…I was lucky enough that I saw James’ round right before mine,” said Swail, who, during the 2023 Blenheim EquiSports season, capped off the year with victory in the $226,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Las Vegas aboard Count Me In. “I thought [James] had a very, very quick round. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to beat him to be honest.”

And Swail nearly did not, but as he crossed the final vertical the timers flashed 58.68 seconds, making him just three-tenths of a second faster – even with a few of Vinny’s signature bucks thrown in.

“I knew I had to really be on every stride, but thankfully Vinny has a lot of experience. He jumped a good round today,” concluded Swail of his win aboard his 12-year-old Selle Français gelding.

With Swail taking the win and Chawke in second place, third went to the USA’s Michael Williamson who crossed the finish in 60.70 seconds aboard his own Call Me Baby Quick PS (Conthargos x Chacco-Blue).