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Ireland Prevails in $400,000 CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Canada

Team Ireland wins the $400,000 CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Canada Photo by Cara Grimshaw Photography/tbirdJune 3, 2018 — Team Ireland led from start to finish to notch a dominant victory in the $400,000 CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Canada at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, BC, the premier event of the 2018 Odlum Brown BC Open.

Finishing on a total score of 12, Ireland captured Canada's leg of the Nations Cup, the first five-star competition in Thunderbird’s history. Canada finished second on 18 faults, with Mexico third on 25. The Irish team consisted of Richie Moloney and Carrabis Z, Capt. Brian Cournane and Dino, Daniel Coyle and Cita, Conor Swail and Rubens LS, and chef d’equipe Michael Blake.

Heading into the second round of jumping with an 11-point lead, Irish anchor Swail did not have to jump a second time, with Coyle clinching victory with his second round 1-fault score. Moloney, riding longtime partner Carrabis Z, was the team’s best performer and one of just two double-clear rounds on the day over the Peter Holmes (CAN)-designed course. The other came from Canada’s Tiffany Foster, riding Victor.

“My horse was great,” Moloney said. “He’s been a great servant for me, and he doesn’t owe me anything. He keeps on giving us these clear rounds and results. I’ve been aiming for this since Florida, and it really worked out. I wasn’t sure about being first to go, but it worked out for me today.”

All four riders knew of their selection for Langley’s Nations Cup in February and planned their schedules accordingly. Blake considered that a key factor to victory.

“The first thing that I think is important, is that they know a long time out that they’re coming here,” Blake said. “All these guys knew they were on this team in February. It was going to be their fault if they didn’t win!”

The team victory capped a sensational week at Thunderbird for Team Ireland, with Swail winning the CSIO5* North West Rubber Cup and Coyle topping the CSIO5* Longines Grand Prix.

“It’s very different riding individually as opposed to a team effort,” Swail said. “They are two separate competitions, grand prix and Nations Cup, and the grand prix, when you have four faults, you’re out, so it doesn’t matter what you do after that. In the Nations Cup, if you’re 4 faults, it’s more pressure, and if it’s 8 faults, it’s more pressure. It is very different, and it takes a bit of getting used to. Thankfully, I have been around long enough, that I’ve had as many ups and downs as I can manage, so another one wouldn’t make much difference!”
Swail, Coyle, Moloney, and Blake all hold previous Longines victories, but Sunday’s victory watch was a first for Cournane.

“It’s very special to ride on an Irish team,” he said. “The Irish riders do really well out here in America and Canada, and to be on an Irish team with these guys is just terrific.”

Canada came into the day hoping to sweep the North and Central American and Caribbean division series but settled for runner-up honours, still more than good enough to secure their spot atop the division standings and earn them a place in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona this fall. The United States, finishing fourth, secured the second of two qualification positions. Ireland, not part of the North and Central American and Caribbean division, sit sixth in theirs (Europe Division 1), of which seven teams qualify.

“We love our Irishmen, and they are just such amazing riders,” said Thunderbird President Jane Tidball. “Every team we feel just so grateful to for coming. We’re in our 45th year, so we’ve learned a few things along the way. It’s also the very first time we’ve held a five star event, and this has been a dream of our family for at least a decade, so we’re very happy to have done that and done it successfully.”

Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping returns to Thunderbird Show Park in August.

By Catie Staszak for Thunderbird Show Park
Photo by Cara Grimshaw Photography/tbird


Coyle Cracks Code to Victory in $235,000 CSIO5* Longines Grand Prix

Daniel Coyle and Cita win the $235,000 CSIO5* Longines Grand Prix at Thunderbird Show Park. Photo by Cara Grimshaw Photography/tbirdJune 1, 2018 — Daniel Coyle (IRL) and Cita proved uncatchable in the $235,000 CSIO5* Longines Grand Prix, capturing the first five-star grand prix in the 45-year history of Thunderbird Show Park.

Part of the 2018 Odlum Brown BC Open, the Longines Grand Prix saw 34 competitors battle over what proved to be a very challenging course designed by Canada’s Peter Holmes. Just six were able to crack the code to produce a clear first round, only the top three jumped without fault again in the jump-off. Coyle topped the class with a time of 40.98 seconds. Mario Deslauriers finished second, crossing the timers in 42.02 seconds, while Eugenio Garza Perez (MEX) placed third with Armani SL Z (43.29 seconds).

“It was a difficult course and it was a separator,” Holmes said. “It was scopey, and it was fast, and it was also very controlled. You had to be there every stride, and these riders are amazing, the ones that can make it look silky smooth and just go and do it.”

Garza Perez was the first to produce a clear first round, which didn’t come until nearly halfway through the class. In the jump-off, he put the pressure on with a second clear. Deslauriers was able to up the ante two riders later. However, it was Coyle who set the standard that couldn’t be beat when he sliced turns back to the Longines combination and Rubik’s cube vertical two fences from home.

“I’m not quite sure [where I won the class], but from talking to people outside, I’d say it was probably back to the second-last fence,” Coyle explained. “I was very tight there, and there was a hedge behind it, which made it not easy to jump, and I took a big risk there, and that’s probably what did it.”     

The win marked Coyle’s second five-star grand prix victory of the year, after topping the Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix CSI5* in Wellington in March. Coyle said his and his mount’s partnership has reached a new level in 2018. The duo will also jump for Ireland in the week’s feature event, the $400,000 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of Canada, on Sunday.

“It took me a little bit in the beginning to figure out which way she likes to go and where she likes to jump the bigger fences easier,” he said. “She likes you to be very nice to her, just like any girl does. She’s very sweet horse, and the more you believe in her, the more she believes in herself. That’s probably the biggest thing I had to learn.”
Quotes, CSIO5* Longines Grand Prix

1st—Daniel Coyle (IRL): “Cita’s been amazing since the moment I got her. But this year she’s been right up there. She’s just been amazing. It’s incredible to have a horse as good as that, to have as good as owners as I have and a team around me that is amazing. I’m a lucky guy and also a happy guy!”

2nd—Mario Deslauriers (CAN): “[Bardolina] really jumped well today. We’ve been pacing ourselves to try to peak over here and at Spruce and hopefully down to [the World Equestrian Games in September]. She’s made a lot of progress through the winter and up through spring. She jumped great today.”

3rd—Eugenio Garza Perez (MEX): “I’ve had Armani since the end of his 6-year-old year. So we grew together. I have a lot of faith in him. I’m just happy to have a horse like him in the barn. I really love the guy.”

Jane Tidball, Thunderbird Show Park President: “This is our 45th year. I loved the day my mom and dad started this place. It was a small boutique horse show and we still maintain that boutique horse show. This is the biggest size we will become. But really it’s improvements for the horses and riders. That's what we focus on. That what you'll see in my mother’s work. She wanted everybody to wonder what would be new at Thunderbird next year so I’m carrying on that legacy for her. You can expect something new here next year, don’t you worry about that.”

By Catie Staszak for Thunderbird Show Park
Photo by Cara Grimshaw Photography/tbird