Conor Swail described his mount Cita as “amazing” after netting third place in last night’s Rolex Grand Prix at the Central Park Horse Show in New York.

From a startlist of 34 representing 11 countries, Swail was the only Irish rider to make the jump-off, and recorded the fastest round in the 10-way decider,  but it came at the expense of four faults. Only two riders managed a second clear, with American Jimmy Torano faster on Day Dream ahead of New Zealand’s Sharn Wordley and Barnetta.

“I thought she was outstanding tonight,” Swail said of Cita, who is owned by Susan and Ariel Grange. “The first round was a beautiful round. In the jump-off I felt I needed to be very fast because a couple of the top guys were after me with very fast horses.”

So confident was the Irish rider of his mount that he felt he could concentrate on knocking seconds off the clock and leave the jumping to Cita.  “I never think she is going to knock anything. I cut in very tight and I probably needed to square up my turn slightly better, but because I am riding so much quality I felt it did not matter where I was or what angle I was going at. I took a risk and unfortunately it did not pay off.”

Swail who took second with Cita in the previous day’s speed event, was nonetheless delighted with third place. “Third place was good for me. I’m so proud of my mare. I thought she jumped amazing.”

Winner Jimmy Torano bought Day Dream as a six year-old. “From day one I believed in him,” he said. “The horse has a lot of quality and he is very careful. He really knows where the poles are.”

Mike Dunne