To say Conor Swail (IRL) is at home at Thunderbird Showpark might be an understatement. The defending champion of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver continued his winning ways at Langley by capturing the $75,000 CSI4*-W Maui Jim Welcome Stake Thursday with Rubens La Silla. The victory marks the Irishman’s fourth in fewer than two weeks at tbird.
Swail and the 12-year-old Selle Francais stallion laid down a deceptively fast round to win the 1.45m speed class, leaving out strides throughout and crossing the timers in 70.61 seconds. Just behind the winning pair were Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado (MEX) and Tino la Chapelle, who completed the course in 70.99 seconds. Shawn Casady (USA) and Durango VDL rounded out the podium in third with a time of 71.44 seconds.
“It was a nice win, and I’m delighted for the horse. I thought he jumped fantastic tonight,” Swail said.
The track, designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade, saw only eight clear rounds. Swail’s winning performance didn’t come until the penultimate trip in a competitive field of 50.
“When you walk around Alan’s tracks, you always think they are sort of nice, straightforward tracks, but he’s always making you make all the right decisions,” Swail said. “He’ll catch you somewhere around a course if you’re not on it. I got a good draw with Rubens, and we had a certain amount of numbers [of strides] all the way around [that I wanted to get], and thankfully I got everything the way I wanted. He felt really smooth, and it made it very easy for me to ride him. I thought he just jumped beautifully.”
Rubens has proved to be a versatile mount, having contributed to a winning effort for Team Ireland in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Canada at tbird in May after returning to Swail’s string following a sale last year.
“I got him back in February/March time this year, and I think that the longer I’ve had him, the better relationship we’re getting,” Swail continued. “He hasn’t done anything particularly wrong at all throughout the whole time, but for me, he’s actually improving. Looking forward, it looks like he has a good, bright future.”
Swail and the chestnut stallion will contest the $145,000 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver, presented by Facet Advisors, on Sunday, Aug. 26. The feature of the 2018 Summer Fort Festival will take place at 2:00 pm PT.
Watch Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver on FEI.TV
Theymann and Cypress VF Get First Four-Star Win in CSI4*-W tbird Happy Welcome
The first international class of the week went to Germany’s Söhnke Theymann, who rode Morgan Evans’ Cypress VF to the top prize in the CSI4*-W tbird Happy Welcome. The duo bested a field of 18 over the 1.40m speed track designed by Alan Wade (IRL) with a final time of 61.10 seconds.
Alison Robitaille (USA) and Ace finished second (63.91 seconds), and Charlie Jacobs (USA) and Cassinja S (64.38) were third. Both pairs competed at the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Paris (FRA) in April.
Theymann, meanwhile, has been developing Cypress VF for the past two years after his brother Jan scouted her in Europe. The win marked the partnership’s first at the four-star level.
“She really pushed for it, and I just went with the flow,” Theymann said of the 9-year-old “sassy” Holsteiner mare. “I was quite pleased, and she took me. It was a great, fun round.”
Theymann hails from a family of successful riders. In addition to his brother, his parents are both grand prix riders and have a farm in Iserlohn, Germany. His sister, Verena, meanwhile, competed for Germany in dressage. Söhnke now operates Cypress Point Stables in Hidden Valley, CA.
“It’s been a fun ride,” Theymann said. “I like to produce horses from a younger age to the top levels of the sport. [Cypress VF] has been a pleasure to ride and work with every day.”