Paul O’Shea and Daniel Coyle score Grand Prix wins across the Atlantic
- 28 May 2018, 10:57
While a Grand Prix victory eluded Irish riders this weekend in Europe, Limerick’s Paul O’Shea and Derry’s Daniel Coyle proved unbeatable in two Grand Prix contests in the USA and Canada.
O’Shea and Imerald Van’t Voorhof, a 10-year-old gelding owned by Tequestrian Farms LLC, came out on top in the $70,000 two-star Grand Prix at Lexington International in the USA – part of the Split Rock Jumping Tour.
Eleven pairs made it through to the jump-off from an original starting field of 45, with six of those turning in double clear rounds, but it was O’Shea’s day.
He made a daring inside turn immediately after the first fence where most riders opted to go the longer route, and it showed on the scoreboard as he passed through the finish beam in 36.07 seconds.
“He [Imerald Van’t Voorhof] has a huge stride and he turns very easily,” said O’Shea. “That turn suited him very well. I also got a little lucky. I hadn’t had much luck this week so I’m glad it went my way today.”
Meanwhile at Caledon Equestrian Park in Ontario, Canada, Derry-born Daniel Coyle and his mount, Farona, collected their second Grand Prix win in-a-row. The pair had won the $35,500 CSI2* Grand Prix, presented by Horseware Ireland, one week earlier during the Caledon National tournament.
Just three combinations made it into the jump-off, with 23-year-old Coyle and Farona taking a daring inside turn to the double combination to shave almost two seconds off the target which had been set by Canada’s Ian Millar.
“I planned to beat Ian,” Coyle said simply of his jump-off strategy. “There was one inside turn to the double that Ian didn’t do. Farona has been competitive all her life so I knew she could do it and I decided to go for it.
Coyle has been riding for Lothlorien Farm in Ontario since leaving Ireland three years ago. Established by Susan Grange, Lothlorien’s show jumping operation has been run by her daughter, Ariel, since her mother’s passing last autumn.
“It’s been hard without Sue, we really miss her, but Ariel is doing an excellent job,” said Coyle. “She has taken it all on; the farm, the horses, everything. The horses are going as well as ever. It’s so sad that Sue is gone, but it’s amazing to see her daughter take it over and continue the legacy.”