Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 15, 2017 – At just 22 years old, Daniel Coyle surpassed veteran riders and Olympians from around the world to bring home the win in Sunday’s $75,000 Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival.
The young Irish rider piloted Ariel and Susan Grange’s Cita to a clear first round over Guilherme Jorge’s course, advancing to the jump-off amongst the likes of McLain Ward, Connor Swail and Margie Engle.
“I am very happy,” Coyle said. “It’s only my second week on Cita, and I really like her.”
Interestingly, Coyle recently took over the ride on Swail’s former mounts, as the latter moved on to ride for different owners. Swail made his show ring debut this week aboard Finca Horses Inc.’s Flower, also advancing to the jump-off portion and eventually finishing strongly in second.
Fifteen riders attempted the short course, with the early time to beat set by Johnathon Millar and Isotropic’s Bonzay at 43.612 seconds. With rails falling for notoriously speedy riders Shane Sweetnam, McLain Ward and more, the path was slowly paved for Coyle’s victory.
Swail and Flower gave it their best shot, testing out their new partnership by turning in an efficient round to set the new time to beat at 37.167 seconds.
“Cita was one of my favorite mares, so it’s great to see her going well,” Swail said. “I am very pleased, I would prefer, to be honest, that Daniel was behind me! But Flower, my new mare, jumped very well today, and I was very pleased with my own situation.”
Coyle and Cita took the stage shortly after, blazing across the track and slicing the rollback to the Rolex fence before galloping up to the final oxer to trip the timers in a mere 37.051 seconds.
“I’d seen Connors round, and I knew it would be fast,” Coyle said. “I came in just trying to do the same thing. Everything just came up. I mean we all finished on the same second, but it was a great course and a great jump-off to watch, and a great jump-off for me to win.”
Another contender, Catherine Tyree, would join the Irishmen in the 37-second margin, also laying down a quick, tight round aboard the Tyree family’s Bokai. Their final time of 37.495 would leave them in third place.
Margie Engle and Indigo, owned by Griese, Garber, Hidden Creek and Gladewinds, took home fourth place with their 39.661-second effort. Fifth place went to Celso Ariani and Fatima Morales and Rodrigo Padilla’s Bente with a time of 40.903 seconds. Rounding out the top six was Peter Lutz, who rode Katherine Gallagher and Michael Meller’s Retiro to a time of 41.535 seconds.