Coyle and Chawke victorious as St Gallen falls to weather

  • 31 May 2024, 13:06

Jordan Coyle and For Gold, who won the four-star $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix in Devon, Pennsylvania (Sportfot)

Longines League of Nations leaders Ireland now turn attention to Rotterdam

Jordan Coyle and James Chawke registered significant triumphs overnight in America but there was major disappointment when the scheduled third leg of the Longines League of Nations, which is currently being led by the Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping team, was cancelled today due to persistent heavy rain at St Gallen.

The organising committee had initially announced the cancellation of two classes earlier in the day, in order to protect the turf for the Nations Cup competition.

Following a meeting that included ground staff, team managers and athletes, it was decided that underground conditions caused by a four-day deluge would not allow the prestigious event to go ahead.

Ireland finished runner-up in the first leg in Abu Dhabi before recording a stunning victory in Ocala last March.

Chef d’equipe, Michael Blake had picked Bertram Allen, Mark McAuley, Denis Lynch and Cian O’Connor to participate but one of the last opportunities to impress ahead of squad selection for the Olympic Games has fallen foul of the weather.

The Longines League of Nations continues next month in Rotterdam before the top eight nations compete in the final in Barcelona in October.

Meanwhile, like Offaly man Darragh Kenny, who won on the double the previous evening, Jordan Coyle made his first visit to the Devon Horse Show pay in a big way, propelling For Gold to victory in the four-star $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix.

The Derry native only made the trip to Pennsylvania because his wife Kim had qualified in the adult jumpers’ class and he combined with his Wellington International winner, owned by Falkirk Farm, to secure the $74,580 first prize.

Eight combinations made the jump-off after going clear on Tipperary man, Alan Wade’s track. Coyle and For Gold edged out Lillie Keenan (USA) on Kick On, thanks to a blemish-free effort against the clock. A time of 37.45 did the business.

“I was very lucky at the first jump,” said Coyle in his debrief. “A few horses didn’t jump it great tonight. But after that it got me and the horse’s blood up, and I think from then on everything came up very good.”

“I’ve had (For Gold) just over a year now. He’s been for sure the most consistent horse I ever had. He’s an unbelievably genuine horse. Maybe he doesn’t have all the talent in the world but he’s so genuine that he can do anything. He’s already had four top-threes in five-star grand prix. I love the horse, to be honest. I can’t thank my wife’s family enough for buying him.”

James Chawke posted a landmark victory at Thunderbird Show Park’s BC Open in Vancouver overnight, when landing his first four-star win in the $31,000 1.45m ranking class.

The Abbeyleix native was last into the ring with One Edition, a nine-year-old mare owned by Vanessa Mannix, the Canadian rider who finished fifth in the class. Nayel Nassar (EGY) held the lead on Ivory TCS but Chawke and One Edition were on fire, avoiding a blemish on the course set by another Irishman, Colm Quinn and stopping the clock on 60.8 seconds.

As well as securing a maiden four-star success for Chawke, it was a first ranking triumph for the Otangelo mare.

Chawke added to his booty by also finishing fourth on Nacara van Berkenbroeck Z.

“In my first round (on Nacara van Berkenbroeck Z), I added in three places that I didn’t want to,” Chawke explained afterwards. “Two of the rollbacks and one of the lines. I figured if I could do the correct steps on (One Edition), that would save me.”