Lexington, KY - On a tremendous Day Two at the Split Rock Jumping Tour's Bourbon International, Conor Swail made it two-for-two when he picked up the win in the $35,000 Amalaya CSI3* Speed Cup. Thirty-five horses vied for the top prize over a 1.45m course where not only speed was needed to go clean. FEI course designer Anthony D'Ambrosio set a technical track with some light jumps and stride options, and less than half of the entries rode without fault.
"I have a very strong field. Seems like a lot of people are going each day. They like the footing, so there is no reason not to go, the weather is beautiful and the horses are jumping very well. I built a course which I think is technical in some respects and sweeping and encouraging some speed in others," said D'Ambrosio. "I think we'll have a very competitive class. And they'll have to do some jumping - it won't only be about the speed. They'll have to be clever and careful, and jump a realistic 1.45m track."
Eighth to go, Jonathan McCrea was the first clean on Candy Tribble's Wiranta Z, with a conservative but solid ride in 76.52, which ended up just shy of the top 12. Directly after McCrea, New Zealand's Sharn Wordley took a solid nine seconds off that time, riding Hickstead's Axel (owned by Ashland Stables) clean in 67.11. That lead held for more than 10 rounds, until Irishman Conor Swail trotted in on yesterday's winning mount, Ilan Ferder's Viva Colombia.
Like yesterday, Swail first rode Martha Louise (Susan & Ariel Grange, owners), and had a good feel for the track. Taking close to 3.5 seconds off the fastest time, Swail neatly and swiftly illustrated the pair's skills as he took the lead and held it for the remainder of the event. By class completion, two more riders slipped in between Wordley and Swail. Denise Wilson on Blue Gate Farm LLC's Galous earned second with a clean round in 65.62, and Molly Ashe on Louisburg Farm's Cat Ballou were third with a time of 66.87.
Swail stepped up to the top spot on the podium once again. After his victory gallop, he complimented the Ilan Ferder horse he's been riding since Wellington. "Viva Colombia is great, we're going from strength to strength in our partnership. She's getting a lot more consistent now, and churning out a lot of good wins and great results. It's nice that at this early stage we're having a good relationship and I hope we can build on that and go on to do some great things."
Clearly out in front for taking home the Leading Rider Award, Swail is riding both horses in the $100,00 CSI3* Grand Prix tomorrow afternoon. After the grand prix victory gallop, the Leading Rider will drive away in a brand new Toyota RAV4.
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