DERRY’S Daniel Coyle maintained his winning run at Kentucky Spring Horse Show in the USA, by taking victory in Saturday’s $137,000 Hagyard Lexington three-star Grand Prix, where only two combinations managed to jump double clear rounds.
Coyle was riding the Ariel Grange-owned 11-year-old mare ‘Legacy’ and they came into the competition on the back of a win in Thursday’s $37,000 1.45m Spring Classic at the same venue. A clear jump-off round in 37.65 seconds would prove enough for Coyle to take the win, while the only other double clear came from Columbia’s Camilo Rueda aboard ‘Indus Van Het Keysereyck’, who crossed the line in 39.75 to claim second place.
Speaking afterwards, a delighted Coyle said: “There were 10 in the jump off, which usually means it will be really fast. There were some really good horse-and-rider combinations and they were all trying to beat each other before each other went and thankfully, when I was going, there were a few good ones already knocked out. So I tried to be fast without taking any crazy risks. Thankfully, I just held off long enough.”
The Derry native also outlined how a recent change in strategy led to this latest win: “She [‘Legacy’] is fast in her own way. She has a really big stride, so from jump two to three in the jump off, it was seven strides in the first line and she did six strides there. I think the double combination caught a lot of people off guard, and it was a difficult combination. That mare has come far. We have changed our strategy over the past month. Ariel Grange and I got her a few years ago and it has been a bit unlucky with COVID-19 and everything. We have not been able to show her off yet, but she has always been a special horse and we have a great team behind her. I am looking forward to wherever she goes next. I would like to thank Jeroen Dubbledam – we changed strategy about one month ago and it has really paid off. I would also like to thank Ariel Grange for allowing us to change strategy. She is a big part of this as well. And of course I’d like to thank Kentucky Horse Shows.”
Cork’s Shane Sweetnam was also among the prizes, taking sixth place with ‘Karlin Van’t Vennehof’ – just one place ahead of Limerick’s Paul O’Shea and ‘Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu’ in seventh.