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Conor Swail and Gold Digger Uncover Wellington Victory at WEF

WELLINGTON, Fla., March 12 - Ireland's Conor Swail and Gold Digger made their second trip to the winner's circle after winning the $8,000 1.45m competition held Wednesday, March 12, to kick off Week Nine, the CSI4*-W CN WorldWide, of the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

On February 29, the pair had won the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge. For their win in Wednesday's $8,000 1.45m competition, the pair bested a field of 38 entries over a welcoming track set by Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela.

Swail and Gold Digger entered the International Arena in the top-half of the starting order and posted a clear round in a time of 69.95 seconds. With that performance, they easily took over the lead from Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, Fla., and Alaska who had set the early pace with a time of 73.39 seconds. While several experienced horse-rider combinations followed, none were able to come anywhere close to catching Swail's winning time.

"The horse has a huge gallop so that really helps," explained Swail who began riding Gold Digger, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion by Calvados, last October for owner Glenn Leddy. "He is a big mover, and enjoys moving forward to the fences. I still felt like I had more left."

As for being the only rider to post a time below the 70-second mark, Swail noted, "I felt that someone could catch me if they wanted to. I was worried about McLain (Ward) and Laura (Kraut) at the end. I was delighted with the way my horse went. I knew last week that we were knocking on the door. The course was good for me, the jumps were light, which my horse likes, and there was lots of room between the fences. My horse has such a big stride that he eats up the ground."

Swail, 36, will now gear Gold Digger up for the last two weeks of Grand Prix competition at the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising.

"I want to be cautious, he has only just turned nine and he is a very careful jumper," noted the Dublin-based rider who has been competing at the CN Winter Equestrian Festival for the past five years.

The CSI4*-W CN WorldWide runs from March 12 to 16. Featured events include Thursday's $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round VIII, Saturday evening's $50,000 'U.S.A. against The World' Showdown and Sunday's $200,000 CN WorldWide Grand Prix which also acts as a World Cup Qualifying event.

The 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, attracts the best horses and riders from around the world to Wellington, Fla., and offers more than $5 million in prize money. For more information, please visit http://www.equestriansport.com.

CN WorldWide CSI 4*-W presented by St. Regis Residences of Bal Harbour

1 6316 GOLD DIGGER CONOR SWAIL 0.00 69.952


2 3874 ALASKA TODD MINIKUS 0.00 73.391


3 2072 NOCTURNAL LAURA KRAUT 0.00 73.599




5 2115 HOLIDAY SARAH SEGAL 0.00 73.935


6 1634 SUMMER STORM AMY MOMROW 0.00 75.399


7 5124 YB BLUE NICK NOVAK 0.00 77.252




9 7905 LACANDA CHARLOTTE PLATT 0.00 79.214


10 7593 AMIGO EDWARD DOYLE 0.00 79.445


PHOTO: "Conor Swail and Gold Digger won the 1.45m competition on Wednesday, March 12, to open the ninth week of competition at the CN Winter Equestrian Festival presented by Zimmerman Advertising."

Photo Credit: Ken Braddick, Horse Sport USA

CN is a leader in North American and worldwide freight transportation. CN is the only railroad crossing North America east-west and north-south serving ports on the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts to link customers in all three NAFTA nations--the USA, Canada and Mexico. CN Worldwide makes global trade a reality.

Zimmerman Advertising, based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, is an Omnicom Group company and the 15th largest advertising agency in the U.S. Offices are in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco and Atlanta.

FTI exists to help companies and their stakeholders protect and enhance enterprise value. FTI is the trusted advisor entrenched in many of the game-changing events that make headlines, move markets and create business history.


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