Calgary, Alberta, Canada – September 19, 2021 – The final competition of the Spruce Meadows ‘North American’ CSI 5*, presented by Rolex, took place on an unseasonably warm and sunny Alberta afternoon. The $137,000 Sun Life Derby is a unique competition which requires a horse with good endurance, as well as the ability to tackle classic obstacles such as the open water, the Devil’s Dyke, the bank, and the table top.
Athletes from 5 different nations took to the course today. Jordan Coyle (IRL) and Rowan Willis (AUS) each had two horses in the competition, including Willis’ Everse W, whom he previously won this derby with in 2018 and 2019. However, in the end, it was a showdown between the Irishman mentioned above and the American, Kyle King (USA)
Tied after the first round with four penalty-points, Jordan Coyle (IRL) on Eristov, and Kyle King (USA) on Etalon, the two riders moved on to a jump-off to battle it out for the spot in the winner’s circle. King was first to go, and delivered a clean round with a time of 34.94 seconds. This really put the pressure on Coyle to keep the rails up and his time as short as he could. With what looked liked ease, Coyle cruised the the 350m long course at a great pace and with a strategic track, to finish clean with a time of 32.97 seconds.
“The derby is something you take one jump at a time,” Coyle explained following his win. He then went on to describe his plans for Eristov for the next year, with a laugh. “He’s going to get a little rest, for sure. As I said, Spruce Meadows is his place. He probably won’t do very much more, he’ll come back here next year… This is his horse show. He won’t do anything else, anywhere else.”
The defending champion, Rowan Willis (AUS) did manage a spot on the podium, this time backed by his performance of 5 penalty-points in the first round aboard Conlando 55.
The Sun Life Derby is a notoriously difficult competition, requiring endurance and bravery from both horses and riders alike. Out of the 723 rounds that this derby has seen since it’s inception in 1990, only 24 have gone clear.
Final Results – $137,000 Sun Life Derby CSI 5*
1) Jordan Coyle (IRL) & Eristov – 4 / 0 – 32.97
2) Kyle King (USA) & Etalon – 4 / 0 – 34.94
3) Rowan Willis (AUS) & Conlando 55 – 5 / 149.89
Source: Press Release (edited) from Spruce Meadows
Photo: © Spruce Meadows Media / Mike Sturk