Ireland’s Daniel Coyle topped a baker’s dozen jumping off for $142,400 in the CSI5* 1.50m Thursday afternoon at Thunderbird Show Park, kicking off five star competition at MLSJ Canadian Premier week.
Under picture perfect skies Coyle brought Ariel Grange’s Gisborne VDL into the Thunderbird Jumper Arena to tackle Olaf Petersen’s short track. They followed Canada’s Ali Ramsay, who had just posted a blistering time of 37.97 seconds aboard her 2022 national championship winning mount Bonita VH Keizershof with a lot of go and very little “whoa.” Shaving fractions of a second off and leaving a stride out, Coyle and Gisborne VDL stopped the clock in 37.59 to take over the lead.
“Because Gisborne’s a big-strided horse and not the fastest, I did one less stride from the first to second fence than most people. And then the roll-backs were everything and just by luck, by chance, they came up good for me,” said the world no. 20.
A relatively new mount for Coyle, the 2011 stallion came into the barn in December and they have been steadily figuring each other out since. In 12 international rounds at 1.40m to 1.60m, the pair has a 50% clear round rate, according to Jumpr App. Thursday’s CSI5* 1.50m marks their first international victory and third podium finish.
“Everything we have asked him to do so far has been brilliant and we have high hopes for him,” explained Coyle. “But he’s starting to figure out that going fast to these big fences is all right.”
Coyle chuckled when asked what he likes most about third.
“I always seem to win something here, it’s been a very lucky show for me. And once something is lucky, it usually stays lucky for you. I did my first Nations Cup here successfully [editor’s note: he jumped double clear] and I’ve been coming back ever since. And I always come here with new horses and learn so much about them, with the sand ring and the grass ring over the two weeks.”
tbird’s 50th Anniversary continues with the MLSJ Canadian Premier on Friday, featuring the CSI2* Cabana Coast Qualifier 1.45m, MarBill Hill U25 1.40m, and the CSI5* MLSJ Team Event. For tickets are on sale at www.tbird.ca.