Ireland’s Conor Swail showed why he has been the one to beat this Longines FEI Jumping World Cup season, as he claimed the top two spots in the $40,000 CSI4*-W 1.50m Las Vegas National Welcome Speed Classic on November 18, at the Las Vegas National CSI4*-W. With the class serving as the qualifier for Saturday night’s $150,000 Longines FEI Jumping World CupTM Las Vegas, presented by Walter Oil & Gas Corporation, 42 entries took on the course set at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa by renowned Olympic and World Cup veteran course designer Guilherme Jorge.
Canada’s Vanessa Mannix was the first of those riders to cross through the Longines start timers, and she quickly showed the rest of the class how it was done, crossing the finish in a swift 66.15 seconds with her own Catinka 25. Mannix’s time would ultimately hold up for third place, with no one but Swail coming within two seconds of catching her and her 12-year-old Oldenburg mare. Swail however made shaving the seconds off look easy, finishing in 65.36 seconds with his first entry in the class, Vital Chance de la Roque.
With his second entry, Theo 160, Swail made even more of a go of it, executing slick turns and making the crowd gasp as he left out a stride where few others had. His well-calculated risks paid off as he and the 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding, owned by Swail and Nicola Philippaerts, finished in a winning 64.80 seconds.