Coyle’s five-star victory an Olympian boost

  • 16 June 2024, 19:42

WINGS OF PEGASUS? Daniel Coyle and Farrel win the Apex Cup at Spruce Meadows (Spruce Meadows Meadia / Dave Chidley)

Derry athlete wins Spruce Meadows speed class on Farrel

Daniel Coyle returns to Europe to step up his preparations for the Paris Olympic Games in buoyant form after a tremendous year and the Derry native illustrated his status as one of the top show jumping pilots in the world once more by claiming a five-star victory at the prestigious Spruce Meadows Rolex National meeting in Canada overnight with Dutch Warmblood gelding, Farrel.

Coyle and the 14-year-old mare Legacy, on which he won back-to-back World Cups in January, have been selected by Horse Sport Ireland High Performance Show Jumping Director, Michael Blake as part of the Underwriting Exchange Irish Show Jumping team for Paris along with Shane Sweetnam on the Irish Sport Horse James Kann Cruz and Cian O’Connor with Maurice.

The Ardmore athlete has considerable depth at his disposal however, as evidenced by Farrel streaking to an emphatic victory in the International Ring.

The rain was never likely to discommode the 30-year-old Irishman and his 14-year-old partner was unbothered also, putting in a flawless round of jumping at a scorching pace to beat off a strong field in the Apex Cup, five-star 1.50m speed class.

Coyle and Farrel, who is owned by Lothlorien Equestrian, showed the opposition a clean pair of heels by posting a clear round in a rapid 68.14 seconds.

That was more than two and a half seconds clear of Egyptian rider Nayal Nassar, who has been enjoying a lucrative week in Canada and was partnered on this occasion by Linguini de la Pomme, with Daniel Bluman (ISR) completing the podium on Corbie VV.

“I go back to Europe this afternoon (Sunday) so it was good that I won something before I left,” said Coyle. “We have a very good group of horses here. Our rider (Vaclav Stanek) won the Grand Prix last week (with Quintin) but I myself hadn’t won so much recently, so it was good to get off the mark.

“It rained a lot and we weren’t sure if they were going to run the class or hold it off for a while but I guess being from Ireland, it didn’t affect me much. The main thing was that the horse goes good and feels good.

“He’s very good, is 14 years old and had a long time off after Covid. So I had been planning to run the Grand Prix but I thought to myself, to jump the Grand Prix and get a result would be difficult, though possible, but to jump a smaller class, though 1.50 is still a big class, but going half a division down, he’d be nearly guaranteed a result.

“So I was happy with that, that it was the right decision and it’s good to head back to Europe with that under the belt.”

There was a triumph too for Richie Moloney and Ermes Di Tai on the Split Rock Jumping Tour in Lexington, Kentucky overnight, the Kilkenny rider and his ten-year-old conveyance navigating the 13 obstacles quicker than any other foe in the 1.45m three-star speed class.

The partnership emerged comfortable winners from the Walnut arena, clocking a lightning quick time of 74.14 while not threatening any fence along the way.

Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) was the only other clear but took 76.51 seconds on Vogue TW. Israeli athlete, Sydney Shulman Desiderio and Villamoura were super swift, slicing more than six seconds off Moloney’s time but four faults put paid to their ambitions of ultimate glory.

Shane Breen called on all his experience and expertise to bring a good week at the Bolesworth International Horse Show to a conclusion in perfect fashion, bagging the bulk of the prizemoney on offer in the three-star 1.55m jump-off highlight today.

Only four of the 48 participants managed to go clear at Harthill as Javier Trenor (ESP), Irishman Colm Quinn and Imogen Albrock (GBR) set a stern examination with 16 jumping efforts spread out over the 380m track.

Seamus Hughes Kennedy, who already had a winner’s ribbon this week with Irish Sport Horse Esi Rocky, was among that select quartet and had a stab at making it two significant triumphs this week as the last athlete into the ring on the horse owned by his mother, Claire and bred by his cousins at Ennisnag Stud.

In going for broke though and clocking a jump-off time that was by far and away better than the other competitors (47.57 seconds), the Kilkenny rider had one jumping error and that left him in fourth position.

By that stage, it was Breen’s time that was the one to beat, the Tipperary man steering Scarteen around the Chester arena with the perfect mix of care and alacrity, to go top of the bunch with a time of 50.95.

That was enough to secure the first prize, with home riders James Davenport, on One To Watch, and Tim Gredley, on Imperial Hbf, completing the podium.


JAMES KANN CRUZ (ISH) – 2013 gelding by Kannan (KWPN) out of CSF Telly Cruz (ISH) by Cruising (ISH)[TIH]. Breeder: Patrick Connolly. Owner: Gizmo Partners, LLC. Rider: Shane Sweetnam (IRL).

ESI ROCKY (ISH) – 2015 gelding by Stakkato Gold (HANN) out of Clonaslea (BWP) by For Pleasure (HANN). Breeder: Ennisnag Stud. Owner: Clare Hughes. Rider: Seamus Hughes Kennedy.