World of Showjumping
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Back-to-back victory for Ireland’s Coyle and Legacy in Amsterdam thriller

Sunday, 28 January 2024
CSI5*-W Jumping Amsterdam 2024

Photo © FEI/Leanjo de Koster. Ariel Grange's Legacy and Daniel Coyle won the 12th leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2023/2024 Western European League in Amsterdam. Photo © FEI/Leanjo de Koster.


Edited press release from FEI written by Louise Parkes




Throwing down another extraordinary performance, Ireland’s Daniel Coyle and the 14-year-old super-mare Legacy (Chippendale Z x Bon Ami, bred by Romain Rotty) stormed to victory for the second time in a row at the 12th leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2023/2024 Western European League in Amsterdam (NED) on Sunday.

Last week, the pair topped the line-up in Leipzig (GER) by a winning margin of almost half a second. This time around, they pinned Dutch stars Willem Greve and Highway TN N.O.P. (Eldorado vd Zeshoek x Chellano, bred by P. Verdellen Paarden Fok & Opfok) into runner-up spot by almost three full seconds in an electrifying seven-way jump-off. The crowd of 6,000 jumped to their feet with joy when third-last to go Greve and his mighty 12-year-old stallion - one of three home starters through to the jump-off - raced into the lead when breaking the beam in 38.33 seconds. Their joy was short-lived, however, when Coyle produced a spectacular run that stopped the clock on 35.45 seconds which was never going to be beaten.

Set the target

Photo © FEI/Leanjo de Koster. Legacy and Daniel Coyle produced a spectacular jump-off, stopping the clock on 35.45 seconds. Photo © FEI/Leanjo de Koster.

Greve’s compatriot Jur Vrieling set the target in the jump-off with the 12-year-old mare Griffin van de Heffinck (Castelino van de Helle x Contact van de Heffinck, bred by Van de Heffinck BVBA), jumping clear in 40.40 seconds. The second of the Dutch contenders, Marc Houtzager with Sterrehof’s Dante (Canturano x Phin Phin, bred by J.W.J. Soeter) was looking competitive until it all went wrong at the second of the remaining two elements of the triple combination, now three fences from home. And when Belgium’s Pieter Clemens and Emmerton (Silvio I x Sam R, bred by C. van de Beek) lowered the previous vertical, and despite a nice clear from fellow-Belgian Gilles Thomas with Luna van het Dennehof (Prince van de Wolfsakker x Quidam de Revel, bred by Marc Van Dyck & Patrick De Muynck) who crossed the line in 41.84 seconds, it was Vrieling who was still at the head of affairs with three left to go. 

Greve took command with a brilliant run from the powerful Highway who broke the beam 38.33 seconds, but from the moment Coyle and Legacy took flight over the first fence it was clear something special was about to happen. Curling over that opening vertical to take the shortest line to the following oxer, the pair simply swallowed up all the distances, and with the smoothest turn to the penultimate vertical and a heart-stopping race down to the final oxer, they stopped the clock in 35.45 seconds to put the result beyond any doubt. Ireland’s Denis Lynch and Vistogrand (Fantaland x Mr Visto, bred by Carron Nicol) brought the action to a close with two fences on the floor to finish seventh at the end of the day, behind Vrieling in third, Thomas in fourth, Clemens in fifth and Houtzager in sixth. 

Analysing his own performance, the second placed Greve said: "It was a real fast jump-off and my turn into the combination wasn’t as smooth as Daniel’s, he took more risk and I think I had two strides more, but for the rest I’m so happy for my horse! He gave everything like he always does, and as for this crowd in Amsterdam - I finished second but they gave me the feeling that I won! We have seen great sport and the spectators were unbelievable, so I had a super show and I think we have a great winner," said the man who enjoyed a wonderful week at Jumping Amsterdam.


Photo © FEI/Leanjo de Koster. "It’s much better to win by three seconds than three-hundredths," Coyle pointed out. Photo © FEI/Leanjo de Koster.

Coyle reflected on where all this recent success has come from. Commitment and determination have played a major role from an early age. “My brother Jordan won everything in ponies and I didn’t win so much, or it seemed like that because he was winning everything! In any sport I suppose you just get stuck in and get on with it or you get left behind and give up. Thankfully it went the right way for me in the end," he said. 

“I think it goes back to riding those ponies at home in Ireland where it’s very competitive," he said about his ability to thrive under pressure in a jump-off. "I rode with my brothers and everybody else, even the likes of Richard Howley who now also has won a few World Cups. We all grew up on ponies and I was always chasing those guys. But it’s good to see now I can have some revenge, and I guess I also had some great horses in my career in the smaller divisions that have taught me how to do jump-offs. In the end if being competitive in a jump-off is all I can give back to Legacy then I’m happy enough with that," he said.

He wasn’t sure of the result until the very end however. “I was going through the finish still looking at the clock hoping I was fast enough, I didn’t know if I was slow or fast or what was the difference but anyway I was on the right side of it and it’s much better to win by three seconds than three-hundredths," he pointed out.


Photo © FEI/Leanjo de Koster. "If being competitive in a jump-off is all I can give back to Legacy then I’m happy enough with that," Coyle said. Photo © FEI/Leanjo de Koster.

For Coyle this whole experience with Legacy - called “Dolly” by her owner Ariel Grange of Lothlorien Farms in Toronto, Canada - is tinged with an extra level of sensitivity. Because when he left Ireland to ride for fellow-Irishman Conor Swail and for Ariel’s mother, the late Susan Grange, in early 2016 he could never have known how his career would play out. “Before Sue died (in October 2017) Ariel only had a few younger horses and wasn’t so involved, so I didn’t know if she was going to step up and do what she has done," Coyle explained.

Legacy is named in Susan’s memory, and while the Irishman’s partnership with Ariel has gone from strength to strength, his relationship with the mare has also grown into something pretty unique during their seven years together, although it hasn’t always been plain sailing. “But I feel now we are very much on the same page, we have a real understanding," he explained. Results have proven that beyond doubt, and the Irish rider, whose World Cup points are accumulated on the North American League table, has now taken over the lead by a long distance ahead of the Longines 2024 Final in Riyadh (KSA) in April.

Asked about his plans for Legacy, Coyle said: "She goes back now to Ariel’s new farm in Orlando, Florida (USA) and she will have a few weeks off and then probably the 5* Nations Cup in Ocala will be her next big event. We’ve a huge year ahead with the World Cup Final and the Olympics, and for sure we’ll be looking at both with her but we have to have a conversation about it all. The main thing is to get her to the Olympic Games like she is right now and to try and win a medal! She’s in the prime of her life, she’s got better, she’s got older, and maybe so have I, so I’m delighted," Coyle said.

Meanwhile, with just two legs of the Western European League left to run, the hunt for those last-minute qualifying points will be more intense than ever going into the next round in Bordeaux (FRA) next Sunday and on to the final qualifier in Gothenburg (SWE) at the end of February.


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