Conor Swail Makes the Most of $226,000 Marshall & Sterling CSI4* Grand Prix
Conor Swail (IRL) had a big choice to make with his entry in Sunday’s $226,000 Marshall & Sterling CSI4* Grand Prix to conclude Desert Circuit IX. His choices were Theo 160, who has earned more prize money during Desert Circuit this season than in 2021 and 2022 combined, or Vital Chance De La Roque, who has been in the midst of a mid-life crisis of sorts.The world-ranked number six opted for the latter, and his decision paid off, taking victory in the final Grand Prix of the season at Desert International Horse Park (DIHP). While a win is a win, Swail recognizes the horse didn’t put in his best performance, meaning there is homework to do despite a major victory.“I’m very happy obviously,” Swail reflected. “[Vital Chance] is still not where he should be or where he’s going to be, but it was a day to get in the trenches and fight it out. It’s a great result today but as far as going forward we have a lot to improve on.”Swail and “Vinny” put in the second of only two clear rounds over Peter Grant’s (CAN) course, following Sophia Siegel and A-Girl in the jump-off. With Siegel pulling two rails on her way to a time of 52.13 seconds, Swail kept his pace slow, but still accumulated 8 faults, meaning it came down to time. He picked up the pace and crossed the timers in 48.31 seconds, taking the win in an uncharacteristic fashion.
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