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Jordan Coyle goes for gold in $150,000 Hermès 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Final

Sunday, 24 March 2024
CSI4*/2* Winter Equestrian Festival 2024 (W11)

Photo © Sportfot Jordan Coyle and For Gold, winners of the $150,000 Hermès CSI4* 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Final. Photo © Sportfot.


Press release from Wellington International



Twelve weeks of 1.50m competition came to a peak on Saturday evening in the $150,000 Hermès CSI4* 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Final during the penultimate week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at Wellington International. From a field bursting with talent and international accolades, Ireland’s Jordan Coyle sealed the deal with For Gold from a 13-horse jump-off with less than a second to spare.

Forty-four qualified entries moved forward to the Hermès Final during the IDA Development sponsored WEF 11 over courses designed by Andy Christiansen (ECU). Coyle and For Gold, a 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding (For Fashion x Heraldik), owned by Falkirk Farm, returned halfway through the short course and posted a difficult time to beat. 

“Winning anything here [at WEF] is pretty good. To be honest, that was one of the only times I ever went into the arena in a big competition and felt like I was one of the favorites,” said Coyle. “He felt very fast tonight, and I have come to know him very well. 

“I thought Conor [Swail] was for sure going to beat me going to that last jump,” continued Coyle with a laugh. “He’s beat me plenty before, but luckily today it's been the other way around. This is the first Saturday night that I've won. I've been trying for a while, so it's pretty nice.”

Photo © Sportfot Conor Swail and Gamble placed second. Photo © Sportfot.

Fellow Irishman Conor Swail traveled from California to finish his winter season in Wellington and returned last in the jump-off on Gamble for owner Asta Torokvei. He put the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding’s massive stride to good use, crossing the timers in 39.84 seconds. The effort was strong, but not enough to beat Coyle’s time of 39.69 seconds. 

“What Gamble does better than most horses is he turns extremely well, and I knew I was able to get inside that vertical after the double of verticals,” said Swail. “Everything came up well for me. WEF is where all the high level competition is and if you're coming here and winning anything above 1.50m, you've really earned it. I'm glad that I'm able to come and show everybody that I am competitive.”

Rounding out the podium Abigail Mc Ardle (USA) stopped the clock in 40.95 seconds aboard Olympia van het Eikenhof (Elvis Ter Putte x Toulon). She found the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare during her eight-year-old year after the mount drew attention under the direction of an amateur in the U.S. 

“I'm very happy to be here in this company,” said Mc Ardle, who is based in Wellington this season with a barn of 30 horses ranging from her international mounts to client-owned jumpers. “This is our first night class. We have taken it pretty slow, but she has a great brain, a lot of scope and is easy; everything you want in the horse.” 

Photo © Sportfot Canada’s Erynn Ballard won the Hermès 1.50m Championship Jumper Series, accepted on her behalf by Allison Robitaille from Diane Mahady, President of Hermès. Photo © Sportfot.

The 2024 Hermès 1.50m Championship Jumper Series took place weekly throughout WEF. Taking the overall title after consistent results throughout the season, Canada’s Erynn Ballard was awarded a $10,000 Hermès store credit and a bespoke Hermès horse rug.

Earlier in the evening, several special awards were presented as the 2024 WEF season nears its end. The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to course designer Steve Stephens.

The David E. Burton Jr. Perpetual Trophy for Extraordinary Service was presented to dedicated Wellington International course designer Andy Christiansen. 

The Carly Anthony Showjumping Junior Sportsmanship Award, given in memory of Candida C. Forstmann, was presented by Carly Anthony to 15-year-old RJ Maya.


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