Daniel Coyle (IRL) didn’t let up from start to finish, and the 23-year-old swiftly earned the first World Cup qualifier victory of his young career at the $220,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Wellington (USA) aboard Ariel Grange’s Cita.
Jumping on the expansive grass field at the Jacobs family’s Deeridge Farms, Coyle mastered a large, technical track designed by fellow Irishman Alan Wade. Only five of the 40 competitors qualified for the jump-off, which featured the defending champion of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final, McLain Ward (USA), two-time Olympic gold medalist Laura Kraut (USA), and 17-time World Cup Finals veteran Margie Engle (USA). Second to go in the jump-off, Coyle jumped clear once again and set an unbeatable time of 34.79 seconds.
Last to go over the shortened track, Kraut, aboard St. Bride’s Farm’s Confu, made a valiant run at Coyle’s time but settled for second, finishing her round in 35.14 seconds. Engle and her veteran partner Royce finished third with a time of 35.30 seconds.
“It’s an amazing feeling to beat any one of these two women, and everybody in that jump-off!”
Daniel Coyle (IRL)
It never makes it any easier when the riders are as good as they were. I saw Margie’s round and thought that was going to be tough to beat, let alone McLain and Laura, [who were jumping] after me,” Coyle said.
Coyle’s winning formula was to get ahead early.
“I did [one less] stride [than Laura] in the first line [of the jump-off], and I think that’s only the real place that I got her,” he explained. “I don’t think there was much difference in time there. I was really tight back to the third jump, and then I just tried to smooth out the finish instead of trying to do something crazy.”
Americans Hold Steady in Race to Paris
Eight of the top 20-ranked American riders in the east coast sub league of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League competed in Wellington. With a fifth-place finish aboard HH Callas, Ward sits atop the standings, although he is automatically qualified based on his victory in last season’s final. Alison Robitaille (USA) sits second in the rankings, while Beezie Madden (USA), Leslie Howard (USA), and Laura Kraut (USA) all advanced their standings.
With his result, Coyle, ranks 10th in the east coast sub league standings, and he may now consider competing at the final stop on the North American League. That will take place at Live Oak Plantation in Ocala, FL (USA) on Sunday 18 March 2018.
1. Cita, Daniel Coyle (IRL) 0/0 34.79
2. Confu, Laura Kraut (USA) 0/0 35.14
3. Royce, Margie Engle (USA) 0/0 35.30
4. Lizziemary, Danielle Goldstein (ISR) 0/4/ 35.60
5. HH Callas, McLain Ward (USA) 0/4 36.85
6. HH Conrad, Quentin Judge (USA) 1 89.94
7. RMF Echo, Denis Lynch (IRL) 4 81.14
8. Donna Speciale, Leslie Howard (USA) 4 83.15
9. RMF Swinny du Parc, Jessica Springsteen (USA) 4 83.42
10. Waterford, Laura Hough (USA) 4 83.59
Daniel Coyle (IRL) – 1st
“It took me a long time to work out what way [Cita] likes to go best and what way she jumps these bigger fences easiest. When she’s on my side, if it’s possible, she will do her best to leave all the jumps up. That’s what I love most about her.”
Laura Kraut (USA) — 2nd
“I always really believed in Confu, but it was about midway through the summer when he really started to gain confidence and jump the bigger courses easily. Up until that point, I hadn’t asked him for speed. In my head, I thought that this year, if I make the jump-offs, I’m really going to start to ask him to go. I’m pleased I got as close to [Daniel’s time] as I did. Last year, we would have been three seconds slower instead of three-tenths!
Margie Engle (USA) — 3rd
“Royce finished great, and I’m really happy with him. He’s been on a little bit of a break, but he’s been in boot camp doing dressage work. He bulked up, and he looks a little bit like [the Incredible] Hulk! [Dressage rider] Lisa Wilcox has been working with him. He’s always had the ability, but the rideability wasn’t there. He’s going better than I ever thought he would when I first got him.”
Standings: Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League — East Coast
1. McLain Ward (USA) 52
2. Alison Robitaille (USA) 52
3. Isabelle Lapierre (CAN) 40
4. Conor Swail (IRL) 40
5. Sarah Scheiring (USA) 39
6. Beat Mändli (SUI) 38
7. Andrew Kocher (USA) 38
8. Jack Towell (USA) 38
9. Devin Ryan (USA) 37
10. Daniel Coyle (IRL) 33
Standings: Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League — West Coast
1. Richard Spooner (USA) 58
2. Mandy Porter (USA) 41
3. Eric Navet (FRA) 41
4. Jenni McAllister (USA) 40
5. Jamie Barge (USA) 39
6. Sayre Happy (USA) 34
7. Laura Jane Tidball (CAN) 32
8. Jenn Serek (CAN) 29
9. Ali Ramsay (CAN) 27
10. Karl Cook (USA) 26
FEI press release by Catie Staszak
image: Cruising to victory, Daniel Coyle (IRL) and his mount Cita, take their first Longines FEI World Cup™ qualifier win in Wellington (USA) today. (FEI / Ashley Neuhof)