Conor Swail and Cenzo
Mill Spring, N.C. – Oct. 19, 2016 – Conor Swail (IRL) and Cenzo narrowly edged fellow Irishman Shane Sweetnam and Cornwall for the win in the $35,000 1.45m Horseware® Ireland Opener CSI 5* to begin the week of international competition during Tryon Fall V at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Swail and Cenzo made quick work of the jump-off track as the last pair to enter the George H. Morris Arena, securing a time of 35.056 seconds. Sweetnam (IRL) and Cornwall crossed through the timers in 35.582 seconds for second place honors, while Kent Farrington (USA) and Willow earned third with a time of 35.596 seconds.
Competition at the 2016 Tryon Fall Series presented by Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District commenced on Thursday, September 22, and will continue through Sunday, October 30, featuring hunter and jumper competition, alongside two weeks of FEI CSI 3* classes and the highly anticipated FEI CSI 5*.
In Swail’s first appearance at TIEC this season, the veteran Irish rider guided Cenzo, a 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Harley VDL x Cavalier) owned by Ilan Ferder & Tal Milstein to first place in the class, which featured a strong count of 50 entries. The pair drew late in the order and capitalized on their additional time to observe the other 14 combinations qualified to test the jump-off track set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA). Seventeen original pairs qualified for the jump-off round while three combinations decided to voluntarily withdraw before the start.
Shane Sweetnam and Cornwall
“I thought that it was a nice course for the first day and there were a few questions there. It was certainly a careful course. The jump-off ended up quite fast,” explained Swail. “I went last so I was able to watch how everything had gone and unfolded in front of me.”
“Basically, when I went in I knew that my horse was going to have to go very fast and do everything well. Thankfully today, that’s how it worked out for us,” he added, commenting on his strategy for the short course, which saw the top four combinations finish less than seven-tenths of a second within his winning time.
Swail has established a successful relationship with the gelding throughout the year, as he took over the ride this past winter season and has placed in numerous FEI competitions, garnering top five finishes in Wellington, FL, Coapexpan, Mexico, Spruce Meadows, Canada, and St. Lô, France.
“I started riding him in Florida at the start of the year and he’s owned by Ilan Ferder” he elaborated. “He’s a very good jumper but can be a little bit difficult to ride. He’s brave and scopey though. We’ve had a reasonably successful year with him and it’s nice to finish up feeling like we’re progressing well.”
Kent Farrington and Willow
Cenzo is still young and is gaining valuable experience with Swail piloting from the irons, but looks to be a strong mount for the future. His adjustability stands out as a quality that will be essential to his development in international competition next season.
“His strengths are that he is careful and has a big step, but also has a short step as well. Equally, when we need to balance and put in that step he does it quickly and whenever we need to leave a stride out he does that quickly. I think with those attributes it makes him a fast horse,” noted Swail.
Swail will compete two horses this week in the highly anticipated FEI CSI 5* at the venue and feels the “luck of the Irish” may be playing in his favor for the remainder of the week.
“From what I see so far this is an amazing facility. There’s a lot of space to ride your horse with beautiful stables and a good arena. For me, it’s great that I started with a winning round here,” he smiled. “I do believe that I have lucky shows and unlucky shows. The way that this is starting off, it looks like it’s going to be a good one.”