• Catie Staszak

On a Winning Streak: Conor Swail and Vital Chance de la Roque


Conor Swail and Vital Chance de la Roque won the $37,000 Welcome Speed Cup and $225,000 Kentucky Invitational Grand Prix CSI3* at the 2022 CSI3* Kentucky Invitational. Photo: Split Rock Jumping Tour


If you were at the Kentucky Invitational CSI3* last weekend, you likely experienced some déjà vu.


Friday evening in the Kentucky Horse Park’s Rolex Stadium, the $37,000 Welcome Speed Cup was won by Conor Swail (IRE) and Vital Chance de la Roque (Diamant de Semilly x Venise des Cresles).


The next day—same time, same place—the $225,000 Kentucky Invitational Grand Prix CSI3* was…also won by Conor Swail and Vital Chance de la Roque.


It’s become a recurring pattern for this pair. Since June 20, 2021, Swail and “Vinny” have won a remarkable 10 FEI events—six of them Grand Prix events, including two Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ qualifiers at Vancouver (CAN) and Sacramento (USA), respectively.


An examination of this lethal combination’s numbers creates an absolute field day for an analyst. In 38 FEI starts since July 29, 2021, this combination has finished in the money a remarkable 34% of the time, with an average placing of 10. If you narrow the microscope to solely Grand Prix competition, the average placing is even more impressive—5.


If you take out those rare out-of-the-money placings, the average finish is 3—meaning, if this pair advances to the jump-off, they’re all but guaranteed to make the podium. To prove this point, in 2022, this pair has jumped clear in 100% of the jump-offs they’ve made (Yes, that means all of them).


In addition to scope, footspeed and carefulness, it’s clear that Vital Chance also boasts a rare quality of endurance, and there’s no need to worry about leaving anything in the tank for Grand Prix day. In fact, a fast finish has proven to be the perfect prep. When this pair finishes on the podium in a welcome or qualifier, they also finish on the Grand Prix podium 77.8% of the time.


That’s a trend you might want to follow the next time you play Prixview’s fantasy games.


This eye-opening record is the result not only of a top partnership, but also some elite management. Swail has masterfully placed his mount for success: All of Vital Chance’s wins have come at the CSI2*, CSI3* and CSI4*/CSI4*-W levels—only twice has he even contested a CSI5* event.


“I don’t need to keep saying how great he is,” Swail said. “If you just read his results, that shows for himself.”


Follow Conor Swail through Prixview’s fantasy games at Prixview.com/fantasy.