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Coyle has perfect start to Summer Fort Festival with 1-2 finish in $75,000 tbird Challenge CSI4*-W

Thursday, 22 August 2019
CSI4*-W Thunderbird Show Park 2019

Photo © Kady Dane/tbird Ireland's Daniel Coyle & Cita win the $75,000 tbird Challenge CSI4*-W on opening day of the Summer Fort Festival. Photo © Kady Dane/tbird.


Press release from Thunderbird Show Park



Daniel Coyle (IRL) added another victory to his quickly growing resume at Thunderbird Show Park with a 1-2 finish in the $75,000 tbird Challenge on opening day of the 2019 Summer Fort Festival CSI4*-W.

Coyle finished first with longtime mount Cita and second with rising star Farrel. Fellow Irishman Conor Swail, tbird’s winningest rider, was third with GK Coco Chanel. The 1.50m jump-off class was one of two international events Wednesday at tbird, as the venue builds toward Sunday’s Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver, presented by Celebrity Cruises, the first leg of the 2019/2020 North American League season.

“Conor is always very fast, and a few other ones I knew weren’t just going to hand it to me,” Coyle said, “so I tried to get it done from the off, and thankfully I did.”

After heavy rain plagued the venue for most of the day, tbird management elected to move Wednesday's feature class to the Thunderbird Jumper Arena on sand footing, making horse and rider safety the priority. The 39 competing combinations saw perfect conditions as the weather subsided, and seven pairs advanced to the jump-off of Peter Holmes’ (CAN) 1.50m track

First to go over the shortened course, Coyle and Cita used their natural footspeed and agility in the turns to their advantage; their 36.88-second final time simply could not be caught. Swail tried to pull out all the stops, leaving out strides on two separate occasions on course, but he was left playing catch-up after losing time at the track’s second fence. He and GK Coco Chanel finished in 37.498 seconds, which was still good enough for runner-up honors, until Coyle returned with Farrel and put forth another stellar round. He secured a one-two finish with a 37.48-second time aboard his less experienced mount.

Photo © Kady Dane/tbird. Daniel Coyle & Cita. Photo © Kady Dane/tbird.

“If I had to pick a horse to be first to go on, it would be Cita, because she’s fast,” Coyle said. “There were a few fast riders in the jump-off, so I just [tried to go] as fast as I could—without making any mistakes, of course—and she was brilliant. It left it a lot easier for me on Farrel, because it took the pressure off a little bit, and he’s a little younger as well, but he also jumped really good.”

Coyle has been partnered with Cita, a 13-year-old Holsteiner mare, for two and a half years. The mare, who jumped Coyle to victory in the 2018 CSIO5* Longines Grand Prix at tbird, returned to Langley in May after some time off and was again a winner in the CSIO5* tbird Cup.
“This year has been slow starting for her, but in the last month she feels like her old self,” Coyle said. “She’s a sensitive mare, as I always say, and it’s probably taken me until now to be able to ride her the way I used to again and figure out how everything works. It’s looking good.”
Farrel, meanwhile, is just a 9-year-old; the gelding has come on strongly since posting a 4/0 performance for Team Ireland in his Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ debut in May at tbird’s CSIO5* Odlum Brown BC Open.
“From the Nations Cup here, he’s really turned a leaf,” Coyle said. “Every year at [that] show, it’s a great start to the summer for me, because it tells me a lot about the horses, and with Farrel, one really key factor was coming here to do the Nations Cup. He’s surprising me. He’s doing it really easy.”

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