Ireland’s Conor Swail and the stallion Rubens LS La Silla took fifth place in tonight’s major five-star Grand Prix at Wellington in Florida.

Drawn last to jump in round one, the Co. Down-born rider was one of just 11 clears from a starting field of 40 combinations, and also last to go in the jump-off.

The 11 year-old chestnut Rubens LA La Silla is usually ridden by Swail’s pupil Vanessa Mannix, but  tonight the Irishman brought the stallion out for an almost textbook display of riding at the fifth week of the Winter Equestrian Festival.

In the jump off America’s Kent Farrington with the mare Gazelle was holding the lead on a clear round and a very fast time of  44.484, but Swail’s attempt to catch him was denied by a single pole down, leaving him in fifth place overall.

Conor Swail and Rubens LS La Silla in tonight’s jump-off

Earlier, Irish rider Daniel Coyle and Grafton had a first round penalty score of five, while Cork’s Shane Sweetnam with Main Road incurred eight faults, with neither qualifying for the jump-off in the $380,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix.

Jack Burns