Leon, MX, February 9, 2019 – A field of twenty-one horse and rider combinations were put to the test over Anderson Lima’s (Mex) challenging track in the BanBajío Classic’s $1,910,000 MXN ($100,000 U.S.) Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Leon. Only two were able to answer all of the questions asked without fault, Ireland’s Jordan Coyle aboard Elan Farm’s 10-year-old gray Dutch Warmblood, Eristov, along with the winners of the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Guadalajara, Salvador Onate and the 14-year-old Westphalian chestnut gelding known as Big Red (owned by Denisse Iberri Orozco & Luis Gerardo). With both going double clean and just 1.5 seconds separating their times, it was a thrill until the last hoof crossed the finish line.
With several related lines that demanded accuracy, rails fell throughout the course as the first half of the participants attempted the 16-obstacle track on the Leon Equestrian Club’s large grass field. Not until the twelfth pair galloped in, Coyle and Eristov, did all the rails remain in the cups within the time. Five rounds later a collective cheer and then groan reverberated throughout the VIP as Mexico’s Federico Fernandez aboard Davidoff were clean over the course, but finished with a single time fault. The crowd then went wild when next in the ring, Onate and Big Red, crossed through the timers fault free. Last to go, the winner of Thursday’s qualifier, Francisco Pasquel and Coronado, had an unfortunate rail at 8a, but completed the course as the fastest four fault round for fourth place.
An air of anticipation followed as Coyle entered the ring and delivered a smooth, clean jump-off in 40.37 seconds, putting the pressure on Onate. Riding a seemingly similar track on his big-strided chestnut, it wasn’t until the Longines timers officially read 41.96 seconds and “Rank 2” that all who were present knew Onate was a close second place.
Though this would be the biggest win of his career to date, twenty-five year old Coyle remained calm and rode his plan. “My horse is naturally very fast,” he explained. “Going first, I wasn’t sure what to do. So I just went as fast as I could go and it worked out.”
As competitor and competition host – The Leon Equestrian Club is owned by the Onate family – Salvador Onate was no less challenged, even on home turf. “I was grateful to be clean in the first round, as I thought it was super nice but a very difficult course,” he noted. “Yes, I actually live here, around the corner. We have put a lot of heart into this place and little by little we can start building it, and hopefully next year we have a few more shows and it will be even better.”
Fernandez was gracious in every way when he praised the event as well as his horse. “Everything was perfect – the weather, the grounds, the fences, the course designing. I think we were really lucky to have it be first class in every way. So it’s a privilege to be able to compete at such a place, hosted by the Onate family, who are incredible hosts. And then to have these World Cups, it’s been amazing. It’s really been a great boost for Mexican equestrian sport,” he said.
“Davidoff, my horse, jumped unbelievable. Certainly, when you have a time fault, it is not the horse’s fault. It’s the rider that is a little bit slow. So I couldn’t be happier with my horse.”
“[Mexico is] growing a lot. This year, we have 22 CSIs – five years ago, we had one,” said Organizing Committee and FEM Representative, Rafael David. “And now we have this beautiful venue, with the Onate family, that makes us feel at home. EQ Marketing is the one in charge of organizing this show, Guadalajara and also the Global Champions Tour in Mexico City. We have the best of the best here.”
The BanBajío Classic, CSI 4*-W, continues through Sunday, February 10, 2019. Sunday’s feature event is the BanBajío 1.45m jump-off class. The West Coast sub-league of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League is now complete for the 2018/2019 season. One East Coast sub-league remains at The Live Oak International, March 6-10, 2019, in Ocala, Florida.
FULL RESULTS: https://bit.ly/2Dkn2v2
One More Chance
The race for points and qualification for the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, will come down to the wire.
The west coast sub league has officially concluded, and Richard Spooner (USA) leads the standings with 49 points. Eve Jobs (USA) is hot on his heels with 48 points, and Nayel Nassar (EGY) sits in third with 46 points after prevailing in World Cup competition at both Thermal (USA) and Las Vegas (USA).
Beezie Madden (USA) leads the east coast standings with 58 points, but as the reigning World Cup Final Champion, she automatically qualifies. That leaves Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) in strong position with 55 points, just three behind Madden. Wilhelm Genn (GER), McLain Ward (USA), and Laura Kraut (USA) follow closely behind the top two with 47, 45, and 42 points, respectively.
There’s just one more chance for riders to punch their tickets to Gothenburg. The 2018-2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League comes to a close with its final qualifier at Live Oak, Ocala. Part of the east coast sub league, the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Ocala gets underway 10 March 2019.