IRISH show jumping riders were in excellent form across the globe over the weekend and completed a hat-trick of Grand Prix wins in North America and on home soil.
Derry’s Jordan Coyle scooped the winner's prize in Sunday’s three-star $125,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix in New York, coming out on top after a nine-horse jump-off. Coyle blazed through the timers in 34.99 seconds with Celtic Park LLC’s Centriko Volo, a 10-year-old gelding, while fellow Irishman Jonathan Corrigan finished fourth with Fair Play,
“I didn’t think my time would hold against the riders after me, but I’m lucky that Centriko is actually very fast,” Coyle said. “He doesn’t look fast, but the way he jumps makes him faster. He’s like a millimetre above the jumps when he goes clear, so he doesn’t waste time going too high. And with verticals, you can go as fast as his legs will take him. The more delicate a jump, the more carefully he takes it.”
Shane Sweetnam and Alejandro / Shawn McMillen Photography
There was also an Irish win in Saturday’s three-star $140,000 Hagyard Grand Prix at Kentucky Spring Horse Show, with Cork’s Shane Sweetnam in unbeatable form aboard Alejandro. One of the last into the ring, Sweetnam would come home over two seconds faster than the next best finisher with the 13-year-old gelding.
Speaking about his strategy, Sweetnam said: “I just wanted to jump clear on the first round, the way the class started I thought there were going to be a good few clear, but it settled down and there weren’t so many. It was a nice first round, he jumped well and relaxed which I was happy with. The course designer did a great job of having it be that number. There were not too many big scores so I thought he did a good job for both sets of riders.”
Niamh McEvoy receives the winners trophy with Horse Sport Ireland CEO Denis Duggan among the presentation party
Back at home, Irish riders dominated the prizes in the Bottle Green & Horse Sport Ireland two-star Grand Prix at Balmoral International in Northern Ireland. Niamh McEvoy and Templepatrick Welcome Limmeric (ISH) claimed victory ahead of Kevin Gallagher and Ballypatrick Flamenco (ISH) in second while Max Wachman and Quintini took third spot.