Clean sweep for Irish duo at first phase of Classic at Palgrave CSI2*
Irish riders Conor Swail and Daniel Coyle kicked off the 2016 outdoor season at the Caledon Equestrian Park with a bang. The pair dominated the results in both of the week’s International ranking classes, as well as Saturday’s Modified Grand Prix.
Both ride for renowned Caledon breeders Susan and Ariel Grange of Lothlorien Farm in Cheltenham, who saw no less than six of their horses earn top-three finishes in the first big-money classes of the season at the Caledon Equestrian Park in Palgrave, Ontario.
“We’ve got a really strong farm right now. A lot of (our horses) are homebreds actually,” said Susan Grange. “They’re all still a little bit young and have a ways to go to the very top, but they certainly look very promising at the moment.”
Swail got things rolling at Phase One of the Classic @ Palgrave CSI2* with a one-two finish in Friday’s $35,000 FEI Open Welcome, presented by Antares.
He took top spot riding Grange’s Grafton, a 10-year-old Selle Francais stallion and placed second on Cita, a 10-year-old Holsteiner mare, also owned by Grange.
Swail also placed fifth in the class with Dillinger, while Coyle finished fourth riding Tennyson. Canada’s Beth Underhill rounded out the top-five in third, riding Sandy Lupton’s Count Me In.
Coyle and Tienna, an eight-year-old mare also owned by Grange, were the big winners on Saturday taking top spot in the $15,000 Modified Grand Prix, presented by Albion Golf Cars. Swail was second, this time piloting Grange’s Ariana, a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare. He would also take home fourth and fifth in the class, riding Christine Swail’s Bonheur Van De Kapel and his own mount EAX Run Run LS, respectively.
The duo weren’t done there, also going 1-2-3 in Sunday’s $50,000 FEI Jumper Classic, presented by Horseware. This time Swail rode Susan and Ariel Grange’s Dillinger to the top spot, while placing third on Cita.
Dillinger is relatively new to the Lothlorien farm lineup and is a big boy at 17.2 hands. Swail said he’s been impressed with the horse’s development and sees a bright future for the nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion.
“He’s a huge horse, and for him to be so big, he’s very agile,” he said. “He’s in great form. I feel like he’s got the chance to become a real championship horse. He’s got the scope and ability. It’s great to bring him here and get him the experience.”
Coyle was second in the Classic, riding Tennyson. Ali Ramsay placed fourth on her mount Hermelien and Amy Millar was fifth with AMMO Investments’ Heros.
“He’s taken to it very well and is an extremely talented young rider,” said Swail of Lothlorien teammate. “He gave me a good run for my money all weekend.”
With the first outdoor show in the books, Caledon Equestrian Park is settling in for an action-packed season ahead, and facility manager Craig Collins says the park is ready to go after hosting the Pan Am Games last summer.
“We’re all done building and we have all the new rings. Every ring is now all-weather footing, that’s the big change this year plus our new schedule,” said Collins. “We had a great turnout last week and even with the weather everything worked out great.”
Another change competitors can look forward to this season is the weekly use of the park’s indoor arena, now part of the regular show schedule.
“This week and last week we have our jumpers going in the arena as well. So we have three jumper rings underway and two hunter rings. We’ll rotate around and each of the groups will get the chance to show in there as we go through the year.”
“The hunters will be competing in there in a couple of weeks and we’ll be using it all summer long, so we’re making good use of our legacy venue.” added Collins.
Last week’s big winner is also impressed with the park’s recent evolution into one of the best competition venues on the continent.
“It’s such a great venue to bring your horses to, it’s a fantastic facility,” said Swail. “All the changes, from the main ring and even the old ring we used to show in, to the warm-up rings and the new international stabling — it’s all fantastic. It’s a great place to have on your doorstep, that is for sure.”
Swail will look to continue his early-season hot streak in Palgrave this week at the Caledon National CSI2*.
Highlights will include the $35,000 FEI Open Welcome, presented by RAM Equestrian on Thursday (May 19). Friday will see two large sponsored events including the $20,000 Under-25 Development class, presented by BDF Equestrian and the $50,000 FEI Jumper Classic, presented by CASE IH. The week’s action will wrap up Sunday (May 22) with the $20,000 Modified Grand Prix, presented by Omega Alpha.
$35,000 FEI Open Welcome, presented by Antares (Friday, May 13)
Grafton / Susan Grange / Conor Swail
Cita / Susan Grange / Conor Swail
Count Me In / Sandy Lupton / Beth Underhill
Tennyson / Susan Grange / Daniel Coyle