Report from the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Wellington

Daniel Coyle could be a contender for a berth at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Paris during April after a victory at the CP Palm Beach Masters presented by Sovaro

With his fiery red hair, green jacket and lilting accent, there’s no mistaking that Daniel Coyle is an Irishman. But the real “tell” is the way he rides—sympathetic, yet assertive without being rough when he’s trying to win a competition. That’s in the best tradition of a country known for its horses and equestrians.

From the two-story VIP tent to the bleachers and the area along the outside of the grass arena, everyone watching at the Palm Beach Masters saw a demonstration of that prowess today as the 23-year-old horseman guided Cita to top a 39-horse field in the $220,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Wellington.

Daniel Coyle really went for it with Cita to win the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Wellington. Photo© 2018 by Nancy Jaffer

I first met Daniel at the show last year. Cita wasn’t the star; the Holsteiner mare by Casall finished thirty-second in her 1.60 meter test then. But you could see the potential and Daniel had been pointed out to me by a trainer friend as someone with a great future.

“It was good to be able to come back and clean it up,” said Daniel, who is more in sync with Ariel Grange’s 12-year-old mare now than he was at this time in 2017.

Watch this video to find out more about the relationship between Daniel and his mount.

Alan Wade, who will be the course designer for the FEI World Equestrian Games this September, did his usual masterful job of setting the route at the scenic 300-acre Deeridge Farm.

Only five were fault-free to qualify for the tiebreaker. Leading the way was Danielle Goldstein, third to go on Lizziemary. The mare won the Doc Spirit award. It was established in memory of legendary veterinarian John R. Steele, and is presented to the horse that best exemplifies the heart and athleticism necessary to be competitive at the highest levels of show jumping.

Danielle, who we highlighted Wednesday at for her hairdo woven with feathers, was third to go. And Quentin Judge, sixth in the order on HH Conrad, looked ready to join the Israeli rider in the tiebreaker until he had a time penalty. That eventually put him in sixth place.

Rails here and there kept such favorites as Callan Solem (Wizard), Lauren Tisbo (Coriandolo Di Ribano), Beezie Madden (Coach) and Ben Maher (Tic Tac), winner of the Friday qualifier, out of the jump-off.

Daniel and Danielle were joined, as expected, by McLain Ward with HH Callas, Laura Kraut on Confu and Margie Engle, coming back with Royce after the stallion’s three-month layoff.

Margie Engle finished third on the clever stallion Royce Photo© 2018 by Nancy Jaffer

McLain, the defending champion from last year’s Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final, wound up fifth with a rail down, behind Danielle, who also had a knockdown but was faster.

So it developed into a battle to the finish among the top three. Margie was speedy with her stallion, but her clocking of 35.30 seconds turned out to be beatable, and Daniel did it, finishing in 34.79. Laura, last to go, looked set to break his mark, and was thinking she might have done it as she crossed the finish line, until she heard the announcer say her 35.14-second effort wasn’t quite enough.

Laura Kraut missed the winner’s circle by 0.35 seconds on Confu. Photo© 2018 by Nancy Jaffer

I caught up with Laura after the class while she was still aboard Confu. Take a look at the video to see what she said about her performance on this marvelous Dutchbred by Contact Me.

Daniel hadn’t really thought about the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Paris. In fact, he seemed a bit stunned by his victory.

Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Wellington runner-up Laura Kraut and third-place Margie Engle with winner Daniel Coyle. Photo© 2018 by Nancy Jaffer

So he wasn’t thinking about a trip to the final competition in the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League, but now he might consider heading to the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Ocala qualifier next month if the mare’s owner likes the idea.

The competition wrapped up the Masters, which won universal praise for everything from its well-designed stabling area and top-notch arenas to the hospitality and amazing food (chateaubriand, lobster, shrimp, stone crabs) and drink (you could have either regular champagne or the pink variety.)

The Jacobs family does a marvelous job hosting riders, sponsors and fans. We’ll all be looking forward to coming back for this one next year.

Click on this link for the complete list of results!/equestrian/2018/1444/html/en/longinestiming/resultlist_102.html

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