“I don’t know the Jumpr [stats]. But honestly, the horse jumps clear after clear after clear,” said Conor Swail of his 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding Casturano.

“He never knocks jumps down. So the confidence you get from riding a horse with so much ability, and how he’s grown with me over the last year. I’m extremely excited about him.”

The Jumpr stats suggest he has ever reason to be.

Developed by Canada’s Samantha Buirs up to the 1.50m height, Casturano had an impressive 83% clear round average across all heights when Swail took over the reins just over a year ago.

Under the Irishman’s saddle, the gelding has become a consistent contender in the international ring, jumping to 24 podium finishes since March 2023, including nine victories. The pair averages just 1.2 faults over 73 ranking class rounds. In five rounds at 1.60m, they’ve never finished outside the top 10%.

On Saturday, Swail and his rising star earned their career best win to date with the CSI4* Kentucky Invitational Grand Prix in front of a 10,000-deep stadium at the Defender Kentucky Three Day Event in Lexington.

Six pairs advanced to the jump off set by Guilherme Jorge. Chasing Nayel Nassar (EGY) and Igor van de Wittemoere’s leading time of 41.480, Swail and Casturano shaved nearly half a second off, stopping the clock at 40.960 seconds.

“It’s one of those competitions you’re aiming to try and do your best. I’m riding, I feel, one of the best horses in the class and every question I asked him, he answered unbelievably,” said Swail.

“Conor, I’ve learned just to never count out. The number of times I’ve lost to this guy, I’ve lost track,” smiled Nassar. “That’s kind of the beauty of our sport, right? You think it’s over until you find out that it’s actually not…Conor is one of my favorite riders to watch, so I can’t say this was unexpected.

Expectations are precisely what’s on Swail’s mind when it comes to Casturano.

“I think if he keeps doing what he’s doing and progressing, that he’s going to be one of the best horses in the world. And, I’m just very lucky to have him. I’m really looking forward to what’s coming next for them.”

Charlotte Jacobs and Rincoola Milsean finished in third in 42.390.