Manchester, Vermont, USA – August 06, 2023 – On a splendid Sunday during Manchester & the Mountains at HITS Vermont, Christian Coyle (IRL) extended his triumphant run by winning the $40,000 Equinox Grand Prix with Celest. Maintaining the lead from being the first contender on course and to return to the jump-off, Coyle showcased a flawless double-clear round that propelled him to the forefront of the victory gallop.
“I got Celest five weeks ago and I jumped her three weeks ago in Saugerties – she was brilliant — she won a really good class. She’s only eight years old, maybe a little bit inexperienced, but she’s learning to go fast,” Coyle said after his double-clear. “I really like her – she’s pretty talented.”
Crafted by the skilled hands of Florencio Hernandez, the course unfolded with a medley of wide-oxers and towering verticals, challenging riders with its intricate design. Featuring three combinations and a lofty, skinny vertical near the tail end of the course, horses and riders alike were tested on their stamina.
Reflecting on the course, Coyle mused, “I think it was a good course. It took plenty of jumping and was a long track. I think that caught a few people out as a lot of people had the second to last down; the skinny vertical which was a little bit taller than the rest. I think fatigue came into play at the end. But, I thought the course was great – at the end of the day we’re jumping for $40,000, so it can’t be too easy.”
Leading the parade in the order of performance, Coyle and Celest, proudly owned by The Berry Group, were slated to be the trailblazers in the three-horse jump-off. Setting a blazing precedent, Coyle artfully negotiated the compact circuit confidently, crossing the finish line with a clear run in a swift 36.273 seconds. Coyle’s triumph was already embellished by a previous victory secured in Wednesday’s Open Welcome, where he once again orchestrated a masterful double-clear display.
“Vermont’s been great,” Coyle remarked with a satisfied smile. “We’re here for another week now, so hopefully our luck continues.”
A commendable second place achieved by Stephanie Bourassa (CAN) and her own Chrome D’Argouges. Delivering another impeccable double-clear performance, Bourassa secured a remarkable finish, clocking in at 41.199 seconds.
Among the contenders to enter the jump-off was Morgan Ward (USA) in partnership with Jiran R, owned by Morlynn Farm. Crossing the finish line at 34.123 seconds and 4 faults, Ward rounded out the triumphant trio that occupied the top three positions.
HITS’ time in the mountains is coming to a close as anticipation mounts for the final week of the Vermont Summer Festival. Riders will have another week of opportunities to chase victories and year-end points.
Final Results – $40,000 Equinox Grand Prix
1) Christian Coyle (IRL) & Celest – 0 / 0 –36.273
2) Stephanie Bourassa (CAN) & Chrome D’Argouges – 0 / 0 – 41.199
3) Morgan Ward (USA) & Jiran R – 0 / 4 – 34.123
Source: Press Release from Hits Horse Shows
Photos: © Jess Windhurst Photography