Conor Swail and Count me In are back on top in CSI3* 1.45 m at Desert International
Conor Swail (IRL) has an incredible partner in Count Me In. With Mannon Farms’ 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Count Grannus x Sherlock Holmes) the Irishman has jumped (and won) all over the world, and they got a big win together to close out Desert Circuit 3, presented by U.S. Bank, topping the $32,000 Pegasus Show Stable CSI3* 1.45m Classic Sunday afternoon.
“He had a bit of a quieter year,” Swail reflected on the past 12 months with “Crosby”. “He started off really well but then he wasn’t feeling the big classes so we dropped into the 1.45m and 1.50m. He seemed to be more comfortable there. I feel him getting back into good form again. This week I just wanted to give him a jump around. It’s a nice opener for him.”
For Swail, it’s a nice opener, but it’s still a big international victory up against top riders worldwide. He bested 12 jump-off contenders over a track built by Bernardo Costa Cabral (POR), just quicker than Gregory Wathelet (BEL) aboard Clarity, who took second. Cassio Rivetti (BRA) claimed third with Billy Dorito, owned by Monarch Farms, LLC.
Swail has big plans throughout Desert Circuit for each of his mounts, with a great deal of experience among his string. He’ll strategically place each horse to give himself an opportunity to win big classes, and Crosby fits into that plan in both CSI4* weeks.
“I might start him next week again because he was second on the grass here couple years ago,” he remarked on Crosby’s success with Canadian rider Beth Underhill at this venue. “He likes that arena. I can feel how the week is going and decide who to jump in the Grand Prix. I’ll do the last four-star too so I will build him up. Hopefully he’s feeling good and I can get him back to the level he can achieve.”
The horse may not be jumping 1.65m at the moment, but he’s been instrumental in the spectacular few years Swail has had competing across the globe.
Swail remembers that day fondly, bringing home the Aga Khan trophy for his teammates in a jump-off. “That was probably the best day of my life,” he said. “When you’re going up in Ireland the Aga Khan means everything. To win it in a jump-off, it was just an amazing day. He owes me absolutely nothing. He is such a good guy, we’ve had such good times. If he doesn’t want to do the big stuff anymore I’m very happy winning whatever he wants to do.”
This year, Swail will compete for the majority of the circuit, rather than going back east. With highlights on the schedule every week, he’s got something for each of his horses to shine in and can continue gathering prize money and ranking points.
“This is my third yar coming back and every year there are new improvements,” he said of DIHP. “The VIP has gerat upgrades with permanent food stands. There are great horse paths all around the show grounds now which makes it a whole lot safer. There’s no expense spread with all the fancy jumps. We have the grass ring next week which is world class. This is the place to be and I’m really happy being here.”
Press release Desert International Horse Park | Conor Swail (IRL) and Count Me In. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo