... and Conor Swail is top of the World with Texas win
Ten-year-old Cliodhna McEvoy, champion of the Under 10 showjumping final at the Royal Ulster September show, Balmoral Park 2021, has lifted a major prize this week at London International Horse Show.
Staged at Excel Arena, the Rathfriland rider partnered with GB’s Laura Renwick to win the Mini Major International on board the speed machine pony Tynan Tuttle Pip, owned by her Portadown trainer Abby Morton.
Cliodhna, a pupil at St Francis PS, Aghaderg was described as fearless by the show organisers.
She said: “The atmosphere was amazing, and it was great to have so many supporters over for the show and cheering me on. I have trained with Abby Morton and the Blueoak Farm team all year and it has been fantastic. I am really proud of the pony. I just wanted to win.”
Laura Renwick added: “I was gobsmacked when I saw her round, my jaw just dropped, the angles and the speed. Wow! As a 10 year old I couldn’t have done that. I am going to be following her progress now for sure.”
Abby added: “Cliodhna was very focused and held her nerve, she rode a fast round and has a big future ahead of her showing maturity beyond her years.”
County Down rider Johan Fitzpatrick Burns finished seventh and is also trained by Blueoak.
Saintfield’s Conor Swail won just under $100,000, taking his third FEI Longines North American World Cup qualifier at Fort Worth, Texas from an eight horse jump off. He previously claimed World Cup qualifiers in Vancouver and Sacramento with Vital Chance de la Roque, then scoring a hat trick in Texas with his second horse Count Me In.
Swail was en route with his horses to Wellington, Florida for the winter circuit and stopped off at Fort Worth. He said: “Vital is small and fiery and Count Me In has more range. They are both extremely good athletes and want to leave the jumps up for me and that is why I’ve had such a good year. Count Me In jumped incredibly in Fort Worth and did everything I asked of him.”
Despite Tiffany Foster of Canada on Vigor going clear in 33.27, Swail’s time of 33.18, less than one tenth of a second behind, gave him his third win heading into the World Cup finals in Leipzig next April.
This week Cian O’Connor transported 28 showjumping horses to Miami, Florida on a private charter from Shannon Airport overseen by his manager Ross Mulholland of Donaghcloney for their three months challenge on the winter circuit in Wellington.