Harrisburg, PA - Conor Swail rode Simba De La Roque to victory Thursday night in the $40,000 Pennsylvania National "Big Jump" class at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. Swail bested a field of 22 to claim the victory. Swail had won the Dash For Cash Speed class the night before with Simba De LaRoque.
The Michel Vaillancourt designed course took its toll on many of the riders, but seven managed to post clear first round trips to advance to the jump off. The most challenging combination seemed to be the bending line from fence seven to fence eight, a large square oxer with a Liverpool. The oxer came down a total of eight times throughout the night.
Jordan MacPherson riding Aldine for the SVED Stables out of Toronto, Ontario was the first to attempt the jump off course. Making wide turns and not pushing her horse she crossed the timers with 4 faults and 42.56 seconds. She was followed by Michael Hughes, Allendale, NY, and MacArthur owned by Christina Fried. They did not have an easy trip and finished with 8 faults in a time of 39.20 seconds. Next was Swiss rider Beat Mandli and Grant Road Partners' Zander.
The pair was quick but the second to last fence was their downfall. They ended with 4 faults in a time of 36.84. Aaron Vale, Morriston, FL was next to try his luck with Finou 4, an entry from Thinks Like A Horse. Vale was the first to post double clear rounds but his time of 38.13 left the door open. Swail was in the ring next and he and Simba De La Roque, owned by Susan Grange made every cut to finish the course without penalty in a time of 36.33. Peter Lutz, Goldens Bridge, NY and Robin De Ponthual owned by Kathryn Gallagher and Michael Meller were next in the ring. The pair left the ring 36.57 seconds later with 4 faults.
The last to contest was Callan Solem, Glenmoore, PA, with VDL Wizard an entry from Horseshoe Trail Farm. As a Pennsylvania girl she had the crowd behind her, and even though she cleared the course without penalty, at 37.22 seconds she was well behind Swail.
"I thought it was a great course tonight," said Swail. "It was difficult to jump, there was carefulness and short turns off the bend. I thought my horse jumped fabulous in the first round. I thought he was outstanding, concentrated very well and jumped a beautiful round. We try to place him in the right places. He jumped in Dublin and then got a nice break. Then he went to New Albany and New York and he won the first day in New York then he's had a few weeks off and he's come here, and he won last night."
"I don't know how to explain how good he is," continues Swail. "He's just an amazing horse. In the jump off I thought I was just a little bit too aggressive. We set off at a nice rhythm and I think I had a little too much spur on. He was running enough without me kicking him, so the jump off wasn't as smooth as I would have liked it to be. He doesn't need to do any better. He gets himself out of the way. He does what he has to do. It wasn't the smoothest ride I've ever had on him but it's another win and I'm delighted."
Recognized as a premier equestrian event, The Pennsylvania National Horse Show runs October 8-17 and has been held indoors at the State Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg, PA since its inception in 1945.
Visit www.panational.org for more information
$40,000 Pennsylvania Big Jump 238.2.2
Plc Horse / Sire x Dam Rider / Owner R1 TA:68 JO TA:45
1 10 SIMBA DE LA ROQUE KANNAN x OPEUM DE CHAMANT Conor Swail (IRL) Susan Grange 0 63.140 0 36.330
2 68 VDL WIZARD GENTLEMAN x PRETTY Callan Solem (USA) Horseshoe Trail Farm, Llc 0 64.820 0 37.220
3 47 FINOU 4 FOR PLEASURE x CONCHITA Aaron Vale (USA) Thinks Like A Horse 0 64.940 0 38.130
4 18 ROBIN DE PONTHUAL ELF D'OR x IO DE LA GRANGE Peter Lutz (USA) Kathryn Gallagher & Michael Meller 0 65.540 4 36.570
5 26 ZANDER CANTOS x SACHA Beat Mandli (SUI) Grant Road Partners Llc 0 64.430 4 36.840
6 32 ALDINE Vitesse K x Voldine Jordan Macpherson (CAN) Sved Stables 0 64.580 4 42.560
7 113 MACARTHUR CONCORDE x UNKNOWN Michael Hughes (USA) Christina Fried 0 65.870 8 39.200