Upperville, Virginia – June 13, 2021 – The luck of the Irish once again prevailed at America’s oldest running horse show, the Upperville Colt & Horse Show (UCHS). Sunday afternoon’s $213,300 Upperville Jumper Classic CSI 4*, co-sponsored by Ethel M. Chocolates and Lugano Diamonds, belonged to Ireland’s Jordan Coyle (IRL) and Elan Farm’s Ariso after they bested a three-horse jump-off with the fastest double-clear effort in front of a packed crowd. Upperville’s own Alison Robitaille (USA) placed second with Lima 47, while Samuel Parot (CHI) of Chile and Dubai completed the podium.
Thirty-two international athletes challenged Marina Azevedo’s (BRA) first round track in the B&D Builders Grand Prix Ring, and the field was eventually narrowed down to just three combinations who returned for the jump-off. A triple bar to a careful plank vertical followed by a line with an oxer and double verticals away from the gate proved difficult enough to separate the best of the best ahead of the final tiebreaker.
Samuel Parot (CHI) was the first rider to return for the jump-off with his own Holsteiner gelding Dubai, setting the pace to beat at 42.78 seconds in an effort to leave the rails in their cups. Thursday’s Welcome Stakes winners Coyle (IRL) and Ariso knew they could lay down a faster track by turning inside to a steady vertical and leaving a stride out to the last fence. Coyle’s plan with the 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding paid off, resulting in a flawless performance that clocked in at. 39.78 seconds to take over the lead.
The crowd roared when Robitaille (USA) entered the ring with Lima 47, a 10-year-old Oldenburg stallion owned by Alison Firestone LLC. Robitaille was aiming for the win, but this marked the pair’s first grand prix at the CSI4* level, so a slightly more conservative track with an extra stride in the final line took over the second place after breaking the beams in 41.17 seconds. Coyle took home the biggest win of the week at the UCHS, while Parot would claim the third place prize.
Coyle admitted that his partnership with Ariso has been a work in progress, commenting that despite Ariso’s incredible jump he often had no steering or control after five jumps when he first began riding him. Coyle worked with World Champion, Dermott Lennon, who explained he just had to let Ariso be Ariso, and Coyle has learned to follow that plan which has proven to work having won Sunday’s highlight event as well as the HITS Million in Ocala in March. The pair will head to the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival next where they hope to continue their winning ways.
Receiving rave reviews from exhibitors and spectators, the 168th Upperville Colt & Horse Show came to a close Sunday in front of a packed audience and featured an exciting finale. The entire team will be working hard as they prepare to continue to host both international and local athletes at the prestigious and historic event in 2022.
Winner’s Circle – Jordan Coyle – $213,300 Upperville Jumper Classic CSI 4* winner
On the course:
“For me [the most difficult part] was the double of verticals. My horse jumps to the left, so those are normally hard for him, but thank god he jumped them today!”
On his jump-off:
“My plan is the same as always, which is to go as fast as possible and not knock the jumps down. This horse has turned a corner in the last six months, I believe. When I got him, he was very difficult to ride and he is getting easier. I won the HITS Million in Ocala on him, that was his last show before here. I am very excited to see what the rest of the summer holds.”
On Ariso’s unique style:
“When I got him the jump was always unbelievable, but after five jumps you had no steering and no control. Sometimes he would jump the jumps and just get lucky. I feel like today was a technical course, the [HITS] Million was a technical course and I can ride him a little bit more, so I am going to keep doing what I am doing. But really I don’t know what I am doing, I do not even ride him at home. I just lunge him, but I don’t know, something is working I guess. When I got the horse I spoke to Dermott Lennon who is a world champion and when I got some advice from him it was to ‘don’t ever try to ride him because he is not built to ride. Just let him be normal and try to work with him.’ I didn’t take his advice fully at the start and I tried to fix him, but there is no fixing him. I just leave him alone and every day he is getting easier. Who knows, he may run away with me next time!”
Alison Robitaille (USA) – Second Place
On the course:
“I agree with Jordan, I think that the double vertical line was the most difficult part of the course. I really wanted to be sure that I nailed the oxer coming out of the turn away from the gate so that way I could be a little bit wider and set up the double verticals. Also, the oxer after the double verticals seems like the biggest one on the course. When I walked the course I thought it would be simple and direct in seven, but after the double verticals I ended up staying out in eight strides like the rest of the class.”
On competing at the UCHS:
“In a way I am grateful for every time that I get to go in the ring on the group of horses that I have. But, yes, it is special to be here in my home town area – especially for my daughters to be able to come and see me compete. Winning a 4* Grand Prix anywhere is really special. Certainly it would have been even more exciting ‘at home.’ I have been second in this class one other time when it was still out in the grass. One of these years I am going to get lucky and bring home the win. I am thrilled with my horse. Going into the jump-off I felt that I needed to do my plan for my horse today. If i was to do it next week, I probably would maybe have tried to leave a stride out here or there. Maybe to the last fence, or maybe to the blue oxer, but we are still learning each other at this level. I like to have real relationships with my horses and ride them every day and have a real connection with them. We all as professionals come to our sport in different ways and I feel as though we are forming a great partnership.”
Samuel Parot (CHI) – Third place
On the course:
“The double vertical line was very difficult. Also, the triple bar, followed by the vertical to the gate was very short. The triple bar was big and wide and you needed to have a good rhythm to it, but then be short to the vertical gate. For me those were the two most difficult lines.”
On the jump off:
“My horse is not too fast. I tried to be as fast as possible but I knew that I had two riders behind me that were faster than me and that is how it goes.”
Marina Azevedo (BRA) – Course Designer
On the course:
“I liked the course today. I worked hard to have a great result. I was hoping that we would have five or six clear rounds, but we only had three. Although I think that makes the riders happy, I believe it would have been more exciting with five. As they said, when I made the line with the double verticals, I used the line before that to try and set them up for that line. It was a normal five strides, with the four short strides before, and then having to go out and shape to the in-gate, things got a little bit complicated. I am very happy with the result and I am glad to be here again.
Final Results – $213,300 Upperville Jumper Classic CSI 4*
Place / Rider / Horse / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time
1) Jordan Coyle (IRL) & Ariso – 0 / 0 – 39.78
2) Alison Robitaille (USA) & Lima 47 – 0 / 0 – 41.17
3) Samuel Parot (CHI) & Dubai – 0 / 0 – 42.78
4) Nicky Galligan (IRL) & Javas Miss Jordan – 4 / 72.83
5) Alex Matz (USA) & Cashew R – 4 / 74.36
6) McLain Ward (USA) & HH Azur – 4 / 76.08
7) Schuyler Riley (USA) & Robin De Ponthual – 4 / 76.40
8) Amy Millar (CAN) & Truman – 4 / 76.46
9) Captain Brian Cournane (IRL) & Armik – 4 / 76.53
10) Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) & Adamo – 4 / 76.76
11) Peter Leone (USA) & Donner – 4 / 76.91
12) Uma O’Neill (NZL) & Clockwise Greenhill Z – 4 / 76.97
Source: Press Release by Rebecca Walton / Phelps Media Group for Upperville Colt & Horse Show
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Rebecca Walton