Conor Swail in his winning presentation (Winslow High standing in for Grafton) with Marley Goodman Overman of Illustrated Properties. (Photo © Sportfot)
Course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) began Thursday morning with 68 entries over his speed track in the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Jumper Classic and 12 clear rounds. The winning time belonged to Conor Swail (IRL) aboard Ariel and Susan Grange’s Grafton in 67.28 seconds.
Victoria Colvin (USA) and Take the High Road LLC’s Austria 2 finished second in 68.12 seconds. Cian O’Connor (IRL) and Ronnoco Jump Ltd.’s Crespo PKZ placed third in 69.29 seconds, and McLain Ward (USA) aboard Double H Farm’s HH Carlos Z finished fourth in a time of 69.93.
Grafton, a ten-year-old Selle Francais stallion (Calvaro Z x Vondeen), is really just getting going for the 2016 season.
“You have not seen much of him this winter,” Swail explained. “He had a bit of thrush and small things that laid him up for a week or two here and there, so I just never really got going on him. He is one of my better horses, so I have had to be patient. I would prefer if it was week six with him now to be honest, because he feels really good and he is jumping nicely, but it is a long year and we eventually got him up and running. I thought he was very good today; he was super.”
Speaking of his winning round, Swail detailed, “I did not see many rounds. I was riding a couple of other horses in [another] ring. I had a little bit of a plan to do the leave out across the middle – the five and the six strides. Everyone was going six and seven, but I have a very big mover, so I thought that was very beneficial for me to keep the high tempo. The course suited him today. There were not too many shorter distances, and I was able to just use the big gallop, and it worked very well for me. He was good on the few inside turns we had as well. I was very happy with him there today. He is also going to do the Suncast Final on Saturday, so that was a good warm-up for him.”
At just ten years old, Grafton is still developing, and Swail has high hopes for the stallion this season.
“He is still a young horse,” Swail stated. “He is a very talented horse, but he has had a few issues. There are always excuses for him, so for me he has not actually reached his potential yet. I think he is a really good horse. Last year he had a nice year, but there have been interruptions for one reason or another, so it is just a matter of being patient. When he tells me he is ready to do the bigger things, I will be ready for him to.”
Swail will jump Grafton and another mount, Cita, in Saturday’s $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final.
“They are two very good horses,” he noted. “I have a great string of horses here. It has been a little quiet for me, but I am still hanging around and getting results here and there. I feel I have had a good season. I think my horses have gone well; they have learned a lot, and I have produced them well enough for going forward, so the rest of the year is looking nice.”
Final Results: $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic
1. GRAFTON: 2006 Selle Francais stallion by Calvaro Z x Vondeen
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Ariel and Susan Grange: 0/67.28
2. AUSTRIA 2: 2008 Holsteiner mare by Casall x Corrado I
VICTORIA COLVIN (USA), Take The High Road, LLC: 0/68.12
3. CRESPO PKZ: 2006 Westphalian gelding by Cornet Obolensky x Landadel
CIAN O’CONNOR (IRL), Ronnoco Jump Ltd: 0/69.29
4. HH CARLOS Z: 2002 Zangersheide gelding by Chellano Z x Voltaire
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Double H Farm: 0/69.93
5. CATUSO: 2007 Holsteiner gelding by Canto x Corrado I
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Blue Gate Farm LLC: 0/70.27
6. CICOMEIN VDL: 2007 KWPN mare by Chacco-Blue x Jus de Pomme
TAIZO SUGITANI (JPN), HKC Collection LLC: 0/70.67
Z DIAMANTY: 2007 Holsteiener mare by Diamant D
ERYNN BALLARD (CAN), The Z Group: 0/71.74
8. CHECKPOINT U: 2004 Holsteiner gelding by Casall x Lorentin I
KATHERINE DINAN (USA), Grant Road Partners LLC: 0/75.22
9. HOPE VAN T ZORGVLIET: 2007 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Charcoal Blue x Darco
BRITTNI RAFLOWITZ (USA), ESI Show Jumpers: 0/77.52
10. CLIMBUS: 2006 Holsteiner gelding by Cartani x Limbus
NICK NOVAK (USA), Nick Novak: 0/78.19
11. QUISTER: 2004 Selle Francais gelding by Kannan x Eyken des Fontenis
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/79.53
12. BARLANDO: 2006 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Orlando x Baloubet du Rouet
CONOR O’REGAN (IRL), Erin Walker: 0/79.89
Source: Lauren Fisher and Callie Seaman for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.