Derry showjumper's five-star victory in Canada a major Olympic boost

Daniel Coyle riding 'Farrel' on the International Ring, Spruce Meadows Calgary, AB on Saturday. (Photo - Dave Chidley)Daniel Coyle riding 'Farrel' on the International Ring, Spruce Meadows Calgary, AB on Saturday. (Photo - Dave Chidley)
Daniel Coyle riding 'Farrel' on the International Ring, Spruce Meadows Calgary, AB on Saturday. (Photo - Dave Chidley)
Ardmore athlete wins Spruce Meadows speed class on ‘Farrel’

Daniel Coyle returns to Europe to step up preparations for the Paris Olympic Games in buoyant form after the Derry native once again illustrated his status as one of the top show jumping pilots in the world by claiming a five-star victory at the prestigious Spruce Meadows Rolex National meeting in Canada 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’.

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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 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.

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“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 Kentucky overnight, the Kilkenny rider and his 10-year-old conveyance navigating the 13 obstacles quicker than any other foe in the 1.45m three-star speed class.

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.

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