Jordan Coyle wins first round of WEF Challenge Cup in Florida

He was one of 11 who went clear over the first round course set by USA’s Eric Hasbrouck

New York based Jordan Coyle won the first round of the WEF Challenge Cup in Florida on Thursday. Photograph: Sportfot.

New York based Jordan Coyle won the first round of the WEF Challenge Cup in Florida on Thursday. Photograph: Sportfot.

 

County Derry’s Jordan Coyle, who is generally based at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, New York, won Thursday’s first round of the 2018 WEF Challenge Cup on day two of the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida.

Riding Andy Kocher’s nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Eristov, Coyle was one of 11 who went clear over the first round course set by the USA’s Eric Hasbrouck. Ten returned to take on the shortened track with the host nation’s Todd Minikus quickly setting a fast time of 37.999 with Victorio 5 on which he had won the 1.40m speed class on Wednesday.

Fourth to jump against the clock, Coyle took out a couple of strides on his tour of the second round track and crossed the line in 37.662 to secure victory. Britain’s Emily Mason finished third when home clear in 39.008 with Explosion W.

This is one of Coyle’s biggest wins in the United States and was all the more special as the horse came off a long break from competing. Coyle only started riding the grey in October and this week was their first competitive outing together.

“I had no idea what to expect,” explained the 24-year-old. “The horse this week jumped a few smaller classes. That was his first big class ever - he’s never jumped that big before. I knew he was good enough to jump it and after the first round, I was just happy with that. The jump-off was one of those rounds where everything just worked out. I’d say if I did it another 10 times it would never happen like that again, so I suppose you could say it was luck. It wasn’t easy, but it suited him because he has such a big jump and a big step.”

Coyle previously rode a horse named Chuckles for Kocher and mentioned, “I call him and ask for a horse and, so far, he’s always sent me pretty good ones. “Andy has been very good to me. I’m very lucky; he’s an unbelievable horse. I’ve said all along since I’ve had him that he’s the only horse I have ever had that gives you total belief he’s not going to knock a jump. That’s something that I have never had before - I’m very lucky.”

Co Meath’s Cian O’Connor didn’t have to wait too long to post his first win at the 2018 WEF as he landed Thursday’s 1.45m jump-off class with one of his new rides, the 12-year-old German-bred gelding Clenur.

The Winter Equestrian Festival is a 12-week circuit of hunter, jumper, dressage and equitation competition which runs through to April 1st and offers more than $9 million in prize-money. The Festival is run by Equestrian Sports Productions whose president is Dublin native Michael Stone.

This weekend Irish show jumpers are also competing in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, Basel (Switzerland), Drachten (The Netherlands) and Opglabbeek (Belgium).

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