THE eyes of the horse world will be firmly on Leipzig this weekend, where hopes are high for FEI World Cup success as Conor Swail and Denis Lynch battle it out in the final.
It’s been an incredible year so far for Swail, who has enjoyed great success in the USA with horses Count Me In and Vital Chance De La Roque, and competes in Leipzig as number five in the world, with a real shot at next Sunday’s Grand Prix.
As the world’s best line up for a shot at the €1.3 million prize pot, Swail and Count Me In leave after a stunning stint in North America that saw him top the rankings to compete in World Cup Jumping at the To be on top, full of self-confidence at the start Finale.
“It’s new territory for me and for Count Me In but obviously I’m really looking forward to it,” Swail told the Irish Independent.
“This is my first World Cup final but everything I’ve asked the horse to do so far he’s done very well and I think he’s given me a good opportunity anyway – I know he’s going to do his best and that’s all i can ask.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a reshuffle next weekend because I know the quality I have, but at the same time it’s okay if it doesn’t happen because that’s sport, especially at this level.
“But I’m really looking forward to it and I think we have a decent shout. The horse will give me the opportunity and I go in there thinking my horse is very capable and so am I – we’ll have fun trying anyway.
“If it doesn’t work out, we go to the next event and try to do better. But he’s been incredibly consistent and I’m confident we’ll do well.”
The partnership has met with amazing success in the short time they have been together and Count Me In was named FEI Horse of the Month this week. After being approached by the Murray family of Mannon Farm in Co. Down to buy some horses, it led them to Count Me In.
“Conall Murray, who also owns half of Vital Chance De Le Roque with me, was keen to buy a pair with me and we bought a younger horse before he said he would like to buy a better class horse – a grand Prix horse and we bought Count Me In,” Swail continued.
“We haven’t actually had him even a year, I only started using him in May last year and it took a while. His previous driver had had him for a long time – maybe six or seven years.
“And when I got him, he was a little insecure and insecure. So I spent a month or two building his confidence and building a good relationship with him, but since we hit it off we haven’t looked back.
“His record was phenomenal for the number of times he’s been in the ring. He’s won a lot, but his five-star Grand Prix results have been brilliant. He’s been narrowly beaten in a couple of 5* GPs and was fifth in another so he’s in a really good position at the moment. He has always been a good horse but since we took it to a higher level he has really come into his own.”
Whilst Swail is fully focused on the weekend and World Cup glory his attention will naturally turn to the RDS and the Dublin Horse Show and Aga Khan Trophy.
“If things go well,” adds Swail, “I would love to play in Dublin. I haven’t been there for a few years and would love to represent Ireland at the Aga Khan. It’s always a prestigious honor and that’s what we’re aiming for this year.
“Of course there would still be the World Championships and the Festival in Aachen, which would be another big competition, but we take care of the horse first and hopefully he can take us further there.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/equestrian/i-wouldnt-be-surprised-if-were-in-the-shake-up-hopes-high-for-irish-fei-world-cup-glory-41529687.html “I wouldn’t be surprised if we were in transition” – High hopes for Ireland’s FEI World Cup glory