Lexington, Kentucky, USA – May 15, 2021 – The penultimate day of the kick-off week to the 2021 Kentucky Horse Shows series welcomed international show jumping competitors to the famed Rolex Arena Saturday, May 15. As the highly anticipated event of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show (KSHS), the $137,00 Hagyard Lexington Grand Prix CSI 3* invited a field of 43 international horse-and-rider combinations to vie for the lion’s share of the purse. The competitive field of experienced contenders gathered with their sights set on closing out the evening with a win. It was a fight for a double-clear finish, but it was ultimately Ireland’s Daniel Coyle and Ariel Grange’s Legacy to notch yet another first place during their trip to Lexington to claim the coveted spot in the winner’s circle.
Portugal’s Bernardo Costa Cobral set forth a 13-obstacle first round course to challenge the field of competitors. Many athletes found difficulty with the tight time restraint, leaving five athletes out of contention for the jump-off due to time faults. In the end, the original field of competitors was whittled down to just 10 horse-and-rider pairs to return to the Rolex Arena under the lights to try their hand at the seven-effort jump-off track.
Asking tough questions of the riders yet again in order to determine the class winner, Costa Cobral set a winding course to include long approaching fences and combinations off of tight turns. Setting the pace for those to follow, Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam (IRL) put in his best effort aboard Sweet Oak Farm and Seabrook LLC’s Karlin Van’t Vennehof, but had an early rail on course, lending him a four-fault finish in 40.83 seconds. California-native Karl Cook (USA) also found four faults on course aboard Signe Otsby’s Caillou 24, stopping the clocks just ahead of Sweetnam in 40.25 seconds.
Known for his speed and agility on a jump-off track, the United States’ Kent Farrington (USA) and Austria 2, owned by Take the High Road, LLC, left it all on the line to demonstrate the fastest jump-off round of the evening in an impressive 35.93 seconds, however, the pair knocked the final fence on course and finished on four faults.
Coming off of a win in Thursday evening’s $37,000 1.45m Spring Classic CSI 3*, Coyle entered the arena on the 11-year-old Zangersheide mare, Legacy, with confidence. Coyle was hopeful to complete the first double-clear finish of the night, and after a nail-biting ride he navigated through the timers with zero faults on the clock. Though not the fastest of the class, Coyle and Legacy’s double-clear finish would push them into the leading spot with a jump-off time of 37.65 seconds. The remaining five competitors that followed could not overtake the seasoned pair, placing Coyle and Legacy at the top of the leaderboard once again at the conclusion of the class.
Coming close to claiming Coyle’s first place finish was Colombia’s Camilo Rueda (COL) aboard Indus Van Het Keysereyck. The pair put down the only other double-clear ride of the evening, finishing just behind Coyle and Legacy in 39.75 seconds to claim second place. As the fastest four-fault round of the class, Farrington and Austria 2 ultimately received third place honors.
Saturday’s $137,000 Hagyard Lexington Grand Prix CSI3* counted for valuable points toward the 2021 edition of Kentucky Horse Shows’ Hagyard Rider Challenge. Hagyard Equine Medical Institute has hosted the Challenge series since 2006 and the highly sought after bonus prize of $20,000 will be awarded to the professional rider accumulating the most points in the classes that make up the Hagyard Rider Challenge series. The presentation of the Leading Rider Award award will take place during the Kentucky National Horse Show in September. As the winner of the first event of the challenge series, Coyle has already placed himself in high contention for the bonus. To read more about the events included in the Hagyard Rider Challenge, click here.
Prior to the start of the evening’s competition, United States’ Bliss Heers and her groom Frank Delvallet were awarded with the Equis Best Presented Horse Award for the quality turnout of Bridgeside Farms LLC’s Antidote de Mars. After evaluation at the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Horse Inspection earlier in the week, the ground jury, led by Ralph Alfano from Wellington, FL, selected Heers, Delvallet and the 11-year-old Selle Francais stallion (Diamant de Demilly x Jarnac) as the Equis Boutique Best Presented Horse Award.
Show jumping competition at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show will conclude Sunday, May 16, with the $35,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix CSI 3*.
Winner’s Circle – Daniel Coyle – $137,000 Hagyard Lexington Grand Prix CS I3* Winner
On first round:
“I think that it was a tough call for the course designer [Bernardo Costa Cobral]. He had a really good time-allowed for the first horse and then he had to change his strategy a little bit because he didn’t really get a proper rate on the time, so he allowed a few more seconds. It didn’t make the class easier, but it gave us a little more time.”
On the jump-off:
“There were 10 in the jump-off which usually means it will be really fast. There were some really good horse-and-rider combinations and they were all trying to beat each other before each other went and thankfully, when I was going, there were a few good ones already knocked out. So I tried to be fast without taking any crazy risks. Thankfully I just held off long enough.”
“She is fast in her own way. She has a really big stride, so from jump two to three in the jump off, it was seven strides in the first line and she did six strides there. I think the double combination caught a lot of people off guard, and it was a difficult combination. That mare has come far. We have changed our strategy over the past month. Ariel Grange and I got her a few years ago and it has been a bit unlucky with COVID-19 and everything. We have not been able to show her off yet, but she has always been a special horse and we have a great team behind her. I am looking forward to wherever she goes next. I would like to thank Jeroen Dubbledam – We changed strategy about one month ago and it has really paid off. I would also like to thank Ariel Grange for allowing us to change strategy. She is a big part of this as well. And of course I’d like to thank Kentucky Horse Shows.”
Final Results – $137,000 Hagyard Lexington Grand Prix CSI 3*
1) Daniely Coyle (IRL) & Legacy – 0 / 0 – 37.65
2) Camilo Rueda (COL) & Indus Van Het Keysereyck – 0 / 0 – 39.75
3) Kent Farrington (USA) & Austria 2 – 0 / 4 – 35.93
4) Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) Adamo – 0 / 4 – 39.16
5) Karl Cook (USA) & Caillou 24 – 0 / 4 – 40.25
6) Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & Karlin Van’t Vennehof – 0 / 4 – 40.83
7) Paul O’Shea (IRL) & Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu – 0 / 4 – 46.43
8) Tiffany Foster (CAN) & Northern Light – 0 / 8 – 37.06
9) Sharn Wordley (IRL) & Verdini D’Houtveld Z – 0 / 8 – 40.24
10) Ashley Vogel (USA) & Bellissimo Z – 0 / 8 – 41.34
11) Eugenio Garza (MEX) & Armani Sl Z – 1 / 78.15
12) Luis Pedro Biraben (ARG) & Chacco Bumpy – 1 / 78.17
Source: Press Release by Allyson Lagiovane / Phelps Sports for Kentucky Horse Shows
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Allyson Lagiovane