COUNTY Down’s Conor Swail (IRL) and ‘GK Coco Chanel’ recorded the only double clear round of the competition, to win last Saturday night’s $134,000 three-star Grand Prix at Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina, USA.
Swail and the 11-year-old gelding owned by Vanessa Mannix stopped the clock in 40.17 seconds, while Luiz Francisco de Azevedo (BRA) and ‘Collin’, claimed runner-up spot in 39.11, which was the fastest four-fault score, ahead of Australia’s Rowan Willis, who took third place with ‘Diablo VII’.
Limerick’s Paul O’Shea, one of the hero’s from Ireland’s win in the Longines FEI Nations Cup Final in Barcelona the previous weekend, finished fourth with ‘Skara Glen’s Chancelloress’.
Speaking after his win, Swail explained why he thought clear rounds were at a premium: “The jump-off was very difficult, with a lot of sharp angles and everything was coming up late. It was very difficult to keep that smooth and I think that was probably why there weren’t a lot of clear rounds.”
Swail confessed that ‘GK Coco Chanel’ is not the easiest horse to ride: “He has his own mind sometimes and can be a little difficult, but when he goes well, it normally ends up being a win. We have learned to work together very well now at this stage and we have a good relationship. The consistency is growing all the time; there’s a lot of good results.
This is maybe a week early, but to win this is fabulous,” admitted Swail, who hopes to continue his winning streak for next week’s $384,000
Gary Sinise Foundation Grand Prix CSI 5*.
“I won the [Rolex Grand Prix CSI] 5* last year on ‘Rubens LS’ [La Silla]. This horse [‘GK Coco Chanel’] is very capable of winning again next week and it would be great to get the double win. I’m looking forward to it.” he said.
Niamh King was rewarded for her hard work when she was awarded the Absorbine Groom’s Award for her care and devotion to ‘GK Coco Chanel’.