Toronto, Ontario – November 09, 2023 – Daniel Coyle of Ireland and his veteran partner, Legacy, stormed to victory in the $150,000 Mad Barn Big Ben International Challenge CSI 4*-W on Thursday evening, November 9, at the Royal Horse Show in Toronto, Ontatio, Canada.
Twenty-two starting combinations contested the first-round track set by British course designer Kelvin Bywater (GBR), and seven jumped fault-free to advance to the jump-off.
U.S. Olympian Kent Farrington (USA) set the time to beat at 36.75 seconds aboard Greya, the nine-year-old Oldenburg mare (Colestus x Contender) owned by Kent Farrington LLC. Galloping across the Coca-Cola Coliseum, it looked like Farrington was on the cusp of another victory, until Coyle entered the arena two rides later.
After taking every risk, the luck of the Irish paid off for Coyle with a clear round and an unbeatable time of 35.72 seconds.
In the end, Farrington would settle for second this time around after winning on Wednesday, while Switzerland’s Beat Mändli (SUI) completed the top three as the fastest four-faulter in the jump-off in 37.03 seconds with Dsarie, a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Veron x Ahorn) owned by Grant Road Partners.
In 2022, Coyle and Legacy triumphed in the marquee event of the Royal Horse Show, the $250,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Toronto. It was a meaningful win for Coyle as Legacy’s owner, Ariel Grange of Lothlorien Farm, is a Toronto native. Now, they look poised to repeat that success in 2023.
“When we won the World Cup here last year it felt like the biggest thing I ever did because this is Ariel’s local show,” reflected Coyle, who is ranked 12 on the Longines World Rider Rankings. “Any win here is brilliant, but last year to win the World Cup was unbelievable. Now to win the Big Ben Challenge as well is amazing. Hopefully we’ll be able to do the same on Saturday.”
With gasps from the packed crowd as a dauntless Coyle was matched by impressive efforts from Legacy at every fence, cheers erupted as Coyle and Legacy raced through the timers and straight to the top of the class.
“Legacy now knows how to go very fast,” explained Coyle of his star mount, a 13-year-old Zangersheide mare (Chippendale Z x Bon Ami). “I knew it was a risk, but I believed she could do it. She’s an amazing horse, and I’m delighted to have her. It probably wasn’t the smoothest round I’ve ever had, but she’s such a fighter.”
Final Results – $150,000 Mad Barn Big Ben International Challenge CSI 4*-W
1) Daniel Coyle (IRL) & Legacy – 0 / 0 – 35.72
2) Kent Farrington (USA) & Greya – 0 / 0 – 36.75
3) Beat Mändli (SUI) & Dsarie – 0 / 0 – 37.03
Source: Press Release from Jump Media for The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair
Photo: © Ben Radvanyi Photography