IRISH riders dominated Friday’s action at Thermal, California in the USA, with Offaly’s Darragh Kenny and Derry’s Jordan Coyle both claiming five-star victories.
Riding the Teddy Vlock-owned stallion Volnay Du Boisdeville, Kenny scooped the winner's prize in the $72,200 Whittier Trust 1.50m after a 12-horse jump-off, with a second round clear in 35.50 seconds. Kenny outpaced fellow Irishman Conor Swail and Theo 160 who finished second (36.83), while Bliss Heers (USA) with Antidote De Mars completed the top three.
“My horse felt very good in the warm-up,” Kenny said of his jump-off strategy, knowing the pace was quick and the competition behind him was steep. “He was jumping great. Conor was very quick as always and I wanted to try to be as quick as I possibly could without rushing him too much. Conor did one more to the last than me so I thought if I could take one less to the last that would be faster, and it worked out.”
The partnership between Kenny and Volnay Du Boisdeville has been fairly short, but extremely lucrative since he took the ride only about one year ago. “We actually bought him for Teddy to ride. He had great success with Teddy for three years; he jumped him on the Nations Cup team at [the Palm Beach Masters] and jumped a few five-star Grand Prix with him. I took over towards the end of last year and he’s been amazing. He won a four-star Grand Prix in Wellington, second in the five-star Grand Prix in Monaco, and he’s been an incredible horse so I’m very lucky to have him.
“He’s such a cool horse; I enjoy riding him,” Kenny continued of the 13-year-old Selle Francais stallion (Winningmood x Jalisco B). “He’s so fun. When you go in the ring you appreciate the horse. His ability is fantastic and you try to stay out of his way. For a stallion he’s so quiet, easy, and mannerly. He’s just a lovely horse.”
Speedy win for Coyle
The $9,000 Antares five-star 1.45m Speed class also saw an Irish winner, with Jordan Coyle taking first place with Picador, while he also claimed third spot aboard Centriko Volo. Coyle held an early lead with Celtic Park’s Centriko Volo, just the third pair to jump the course. Cassio Rivetti (BRA) and Nadale Van Dorperheide put down a quick trip to overtake the lead with two left to go, only for Coyle to return on Elan Farm’s Picador, finishing with the quickest time of 68.58 seconds.
“You’d imagine he’d be slowing down, but he still feels great and he loves his job,” Coyle said of his long-time partner, the 15-year-old Picador. “The more jumping he gets, the better he is.”
Despite being a Show Jumper through and through, Picador gets to practice his eventing skills back home. “At home we do cross-country actually,” Coyle continued. “He never sees a show jump; we just do cross-country stuff. I really enjoy it and I think he enjoys it also. Some of the jumps are quite big and we go quite fast.”
Source: Horse Sport Ireland press release