Conor Swail from Ireland with Martha Louise. (Photo © Sportfot).
The 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded its second week of competition, sponsored by Wellington Equestrian Realty, on Sunday with a win for Ireland’s Conor Swail and Martha Louise in the $34,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. Earlier in the day, Kelli Cruciotti and Chamonix H were victorious in the $25,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by Equine Couture/TuffRider. Ellie Ferrigno and Boneparte Z won the championship in the Echo Junior Hunter 3’3” division.
Course designer Luc Musette finished the week with 34 rounds in the 1.50m competition with six to jump-off. Swail and Ariel and Susan Grange’s Martha Louise cleared the short course in 37.23 seconds for the win over Brianne Goutal (USA) and Remarkable Farms LP’s Wirma in 38.49 seconds. Kelsey Thatcher (USA) and Pony Lane Farm’s Everything finished third in 39.26 seconds. Eric Lamaze (CAN) was fourth in 39.47 seconds with Artisan Farms LLC’s Coco Bongo.
Following a successful year with several wins at Spruce Meadows, Martha Louise had a long break and came back fresh and in top form last week after not jumping since September. The 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Maloubet de Pleville 1039 x Wolfgang) is known for her speed and put it to the test with an excellent round on Sunday.
“We started her off last week, and she jumped very well,” Swail said after the class. “She probably should have been second in the grand prix last week, but I made a little mistake on her. Then she jumped a good first half of the WEF (Challenge Cup) on Thursday. It was a little bit disappointing in the second half of it, but then you go away and you think about what could be better. I think I rode her a little better and gave her a little more confidence and today she was totally amazing. I thought she was great.”
Commenting on his jump-of, Swail explained, “There were a few options and I had an early draw and there were a few quick ones behind me, so I think you had to just have a good, tight round. From jumps one to two, I got a good shot. I went wide in the seven-stride. Maybe six was an option there, but I decided to go seven. She was very good back to the liverpool and the vertical, left one out to the next one, and got a very good turn back to the double of verticals. Then I thought she was quite good coming home. I knew it was going to be close. Brianne jumped very well there. I would say if she had gotten a good shot to the last fence there she would have been close to beating me.”
Swail was especially happy to earn the win on Sunday to cap off an excellent week for owners Susan and Ariel Grange. Their horse, Dixson, was second in the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 2 on Thursday and stepped up to win Saturday night’s $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2* with Canada’s Ian Millar.
“This a great win. My owners, Sue and Ariel Grange, have had a great week,” Swail acknowledged. “They were second in the WEF, they won the grand prix, they have now won the 1.50m, so they could not really ask for much of a better week. We have great horses and we have a good team of people, so it is great that we have started off so well.”
Final Results: $34,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper
1. MARTHA LOUISE: 2004 Swedish Warmblood mare by Maloubet de Pleville 1039 x Wolfgang
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Ariel and Susan Grange: 0/0/37.23
2. WIRMA: 2003 KWPN mare by Hors La Loi III x Lux
BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), Remarkable Farms LP: 0/0/38.49
3. EVERYTHING: 2004 BWP gelding by Toulon x Mast vd Vrombautshoeve
KELSEY THATCHER (USA), Pony Lane Farm: 0/0/39.26
4. COCO BONGO: 2005 Rheinlander stallion by Caretino x Calido
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC: 0/0/39.47
5. ZZ TOP VH SCHAARBROEK Z: 2001 Zangersheide gelding by Zandor Z x Latus I
EMANUEL ANDRADE (VEN), Emanuel Andrade: 0/4/39.15
6. MARK Q: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Obos Quality 004 x Positively
KEVIN BABINGTON (IRL), Kevin Babington: 0/4/41.45
7. HERACROSS: 2000 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Ramiro B x Clover Hill
PARIS SELLON (USA) Paris Sellon: 4/76.31
8. ESPRIT: 2004 BWP gelding by Querlybet Hero x Nabab de Reve
SLOANE COLES (USA), The Springledge Group: 4/76.35
9. WINN WINN: 2003 AES mare by Chin Chin x Wagenaar
ANDREW RAMSAY (USA), Andrew Ramsay: 4/76.76
10. ECKHAM VAN HET STEENTJE: 2004 BWP gelding by Berlin x Kannan
MARGIE ENGLE (USA), Elm Rock LLC: 4/77.33
11. WINTER: 2001 Warmblood gelding by Unknown
DENISE WILSON (USA), Blue Gate Farm LLC: 4/77.48
12. CHECK PICOBELLO Z: 2006 Zangersheide gelding by Cardento x Orlando
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC & Torrey Pines Stable: 4/78.60
Source: Equestrian Sport Productions