Ireland’s Jordan Coyle claims first ever five-star Grand Prix win while Irish impress across Europe

  • 12 December 2021, 11:33

A commanding performance from Derry’s Jordan Coyle saw him land the first five-star Grand Prix win of his career last night at Desert Horse Park, Thermal, California in the USA.

Jordan Coyle and Ariso

Riding the Elan Farm-owned Ariso, Coyle took the lions share of the $230,000 prize fund, finishing over six seconds ahead of McLain Ward (USA) and Kasper Van Het Hellehof who were the only other double clear round. Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) took third place with one fence down in the jump-off aboard Benny’s Legacy.

Speaking afterwards, Coyle was thrilled to finally land a five-star Grand Prix win after coming close on a number of occasions:

“I can’t believe it. I actually never thought it would happen. I’ve been jumping this level now for a few years and I’ve never won a five-star Grand Prix. It’s been bothering me a lot because I’ve been close quite a few times. The one that haunts me the most is the first week of Spruce Meadows in the $500,000 CSI5*. There were five clear rounds, I think: me, Conor Swail, Eric Lamaze, Beezie Madden and Steve Guerdat. I had the fastest time with one down and finished fourth. That one haunts me big time. It would’ve been a massive achievement for that horse, Eristov. That was the closest.”

Coyle had this to say about his mount Ariso:

“He was pretty good, and very good today. He was unlucky here on Thursday, but he jumped brilliantly here tonight. He’s very strong but he gives you a great sensation over the jump. Sometimes he can jump really high and it doesn’t always work out so well because sometimes he jumps too high and then you have to put on more pressure and then he can get strong. Today he was just nice and easy.”

Meanwhile following the competition in California, Limerick’s Paul O’Shea claimed the coveted Leading Rider title for the inaugural year of Major League Show Jumping, topping the season-long standings after top performances in various locations across North America.

Back in Europe, Irish riders have been in excellent form at the two five-star shows taking place this weekend at Geneva (SUI) and La Coruna (ESP). Co Clare’s Eoin McMahon claimed runner-up spot in Saturday’s five-star Longines Grand Prix the World Cup fixture in La Coruna. Riding the 11-year-old mare Chakra, McMahon was among the six combinations who made it into the jump-off where he posted the fastest four fault score. French rider Simon Delestre and Cayman Jolly Jumper took victory with the only double clear while Denis Lynch and GC Chopin’s Bushi finished sixth.
Also in La Coruna, Kildare’s Mikey Pender and The Irish Sport Horse HHS Calais finished as runners-up in Friday’s 1m55 speed class where victory went to French rider Julien Epaillard with Billabong du Roumois.

At Geneva in Switzerland, Wexford’s Bertram Allen and The Irish Sport Horse Classified have been in brilliant form, taking a win and a runner-up finish. The pair finished second in Thursday’s 1m45 speed class and less than 24 hours later went one better when taking victory in the 1m50 speed class. Allen and the 8-year-old gelding were third to go of the 54 starters and posted what proved an unbeatable clear in 53.99 seconds to take the winners prize.
Also in Geneva, Kilkenny’s Jack Ryan and The Irish Sport Horse BBS McGregor took runner-up spot in Saturday’s U25 Land Rover Grand Prix. Ryan finished just over a second behind Spanish winner Álvaro González de Zarate Fernandez with Carte de Blue PS.

HHS Calais (ISH) – 2011 gelding by Cavalier Royale (HOLST) out of MHS OBOS Cruise (ISH) by OBOS Quality (OLD). Breeder: Ita Brennan, Co. Kilkenny. Owner: Bravo Hughes Ltd. Rider: Michael Pender (IRL).

Classified (ISH) – 2013 gelding by Je T’Aime Flamenco (BWP) out of Larissa II (HOLST) by Libertino I (HOLST). Breeder: Philip McManus, Co. Galway. Owner: Highfort Stud. Rider: Bertram Allen (IRL).

BBS McGregor (ISH) G by Cardento (HOLST) out of Random Chance (ISH) by Mark Twain (TB) bred and owned by Marguerite Ryan ridden by Jack Ryan.